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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Jordan King

Sycamore Gap tree ‘hidden in secret location over souvenir hunter fears’

The Sycamore Gap tree is being stored in a secret location to protect it from souvenir hunters, it has emerged.

The felled tree has been removed from its iconic site, near Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, and is now being kept at an undisclosed spot by the National Trust.

It comes after police caught several members of the public trying to take branches and pieces of wood to keep as mementoes, The Sunday Times reported.

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 National Trust has not revealed where the tree's remains are being kept because it is worried the storage facility will become an unofficial “shrine".

The tree at Sycamore Gap, at Hadrian’s Wall near Crag Lough, Northumberland, taken showing the Northern Lights (PA Wire)

Much-photographed and painted, the lone sycamore was considered to be one of the most famous trees in the world and an emblem for the North East of England.

It was situated in a dramatic dip in the Northumberland landscape before someone used a chainsaw to chop the sycamore down last month.

The 50ft-tall tree, which is thought to be at least 150 years old, caused some "moderate" damage to Hadrian’s Wall - classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Discussions are currently underway on how to fix the wall, which archaeological experts believe a specialist conservation mason will be necessary for.

Ideas for what to do with the wood have been streaming in, with options including turning it into a bench where the tree once stood, or even making it into pencils.

Several artists have suggested using the material to make a sculpture.

“If it can be made with wood then, believe you and me, somebody has put it forward as an idea,” a National Trust insider said.

The site’s general manager for the trust, Andrew Poad, said he could see how the tree "captured the imaginations of so many people" and "held a special, and often poignant, place in many people’s hearts".

Two people have been arrested in connection with felling the tree. They are currently on bail.

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