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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Bill McLoughlin

Sycamore gap: Robin Hood Prince of Thieves director attacks ‘senseless’ vandalism of tree

The director of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves has attacked the “senseless” felling of the iconic Sycamore Gap tree which featured in the film.

Kevin Reynolds directed the 1991 Hollywood blockbuster, starring Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman, which included the tree in one of its most well known scenes.

The tree, which was world famous and often photographed, was cut down last month leading to the arrest of a 16-year-old boy and a man in his 60s - both were later released on bail.

"I was just stunned. I was gutted. Then I was furious", Reynolds said when he first heard about the loss of the iconic tree.

He went on to tell the BBC: "Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's Wall was one of the most quintessentially idyllic spots in the world and now it's gone, it's murdered, and for what reason?," he added.

"Would you destroy the Taj Mahal, the Gullfoss Falls in Iceland or the Big Dipper?"

Reynolds had first seen the tree when he was a college student visiting the UK and later instantly thought to include the landmark when scouting for locations for the film.

"It just blew me away," he said.

"And that was before I even knew what the Sycamore Gap was. So years later, when we were scouting locations for the movie, I said, 'let's go up to Hadrian's Wall, I want to see this place'."

The tree has since been moved from its site next to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, and is now being kept at an undisclosed spot by the National Trust.

Lady Jane Gibson, chairwoman of the Hadrian’s Wall Partnership, told the newspaper: "The wood from the tree has been taken away and stored for safekeeping at a secure location.

"There were concerns people were taking pieces of it for mementoes, like what happened with the Berlin Wall, when people would take a piece as a keepsake.

"It is now being safely stored as we work on potential future uses for the timber."

The 50ft-tall tree, which is thought to be at least 150 years old, caused also some "moderate" damage to Hadrian’s Wall and requires a specialist conservation mason to repair it.

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