Druids warn that Sycamore Gap tree was a ‘link between above and below’ worlds but has now become a ‘symbol of fragility’
- Susan Winter, Scribe of the Druid Order, said destroying the tree was symbolic
- She said it represented the battle that nature faced against climate destruction
The destruction of the Sycamore Gap tree has become a ‘symbol of fragility’, one of Britain’s leading druids as warned, and could inspire people to join the fight for improving biodiversity.
The historic tree, located next to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumbria was attacked on Wednesday with a chainsaw and chopped down, leaving fans across the world devastated.
Yet, for Susan Winter, Scribe of the Druid Order, the wanton vandalism could prove positive.
She believes chopping down such an iconic tree is a symbol for nature’s fight against climate destruction.
Sycamore Gap tree on Hadrian’s wall was chopped down by suspected vandals
Police have launched a forensic investigation into how the tree had been destroyed
The tree was used as a location in the 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner.
Across Britain, people have expressed their sadness at the demise of the iconic tree, although some home it could yet be saved.
Police have launched an investigation into the destruction, with forensic teams scouring the scene for evidence.
It has previously had a narrow escape when a helicopter crashed a short distance from it during the filming of an Alan Titchmarsh TV show.
READ MORE: Boy, 16, arrested on suspicion of chopping down Sycamore Gap tree
According to Ms Winter: ‘Trees in general have a lot of symbolism and are very much held in esteem by the Druid Order.
‘That particular tree, we were aware of it in the background. There may be local groups, who it would have had a particular significance.
‘It is a symbol of strength and endurance. It is a link between above and below.
‘It is a symbol of how fragile these things are. It has captured the imagination of people because it feeds into the felling of helpnessness about the fragility of the environment.’
New shoots are expected to grow from the world-famous Sycamore Gap tree but it will never be the same again, experts have said.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and has since been released on bail pending further inquiries.
National Trust general manager Andrew Poad told BBC Breakfast the stump was ‘healthy’ and staff might be able to coppice the tree, a technique allowing new shoots to grow from the base of a trunk.
He said: ‘It’s a very healthy tree, we can see that now, because of the condition of the stump, it may well regrow a coppice from the stump, and if we could nurture that then that might be one of the best outcomes, and then we keep the tree.’
The location was iconic, with photographers travelling from across the world to photograph the tree against its stunning background
Experts said the tree was in excellent condition before it was attacked
Rob Ternent, head gardener at The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland, said the tree will start growing again but ‘won’t ever be the same shape or as good of a tree as it was’.
He said: ‘It’s worth a try but I think livestock and wildlife will potentially damage it as well. It’ll be very difficult to get it back to the original tree.
‘The growing season’s coming to an end now but by spring next year it will have some life in it. It’ll probably be about eight foot tall, but it’ll be lots of singular branches, more bushy.
‘It was about 300 years old so it’ll take a long time to get back to that size. It’s a massive shame.’
Ms Winter said the tree ‘has become a sacrifice.’
Susan Winter, Scribe of the Druid Order, said the wanton vandalism could prove positive. She said the tree was highly symbolic representing the link between above and below
She told MailOnline: ‘There is always something positive to come from every experience even if it feels like a tragic loss.
‘It is another step towards the true and deep appreciation of our natural environment to protect every tree and of aspect of biodiversity.’
The tree’s destruction happened as environmentalists, such as Chris Packham, were warning the Government over the threat their policies posed to Britain’s wildlife.
She said: ‘It is heartbreaking. It is absolutely a symbol for all of that. The problem with statistics is it hard to feel an emotional connection. With an individual tree you can feel an emotional connection to it when it has been wantonly destroyed, you can relate to it.
‘Symbols speak to our subconscious. It is a very powerful image and could be more motivating than pages and pages of statistics in a report.
‘It could make people feel that standing together we can do more than we are doing to protect our natural environment.
‘It could prove to be a spark for some people to feel directly connected to the problems our environment is facing.’
Ms Winter said: ‘Symbols speak to our subconscious. It is a very powerful image and could be more motivating than pages and pages of statistics in a report’
The sycamore, which stood in a dramatic dip in Hadrian’s Wall and is believed to have been around 300 years old, was looked after by Northumberland National Park Authority and the National Trust
On Friday, a police presence was still at the site, with forensics officers taking measurements and samples from the remains and photographing the area.
One was heard saying: ‘In 31 years of forensics I’ve never examined a tree.’
Superintendent Kevin Waring, of Northumbria Police, said: ‘This is a world-renowned landmark and the events of today have caused significant shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond.’
The sycamore, which stood in a dramatic dip in Hadrian’s Wall and is believed to have been around 300 years old, was looked after by Northumberland National Park Authority and the National Trust.
The National Trust said it was ‘shocked and saddened’ to confirm that the ‘iconic’ tree had been cut down overnight after pictures emerged on Thursday morning of it lying on its side near the ancient Roman wall, which is a Unesco World Heritage site.
The news was met with dismay and outrage by walkers’ groups on social media.
Walker Alison Hawkins, who was one of the first people to see the tree had been felled on Thursday said: ‘It was a proper shock. It’s basically the iconic picture that everyone wants to see.’
An online crowdfunding page set up by Northumberland business Alncom for the ‘rejuvenation of Sycamore Gap’ has raised more than £1,700, but the National Trust and National Park Authority have yet to confirm plans for the site.
A National Trust spokesperson said: ‘We’re very grateful for all the offers of support we’ve received – from people in the North East and much further afield. It is clear this tree was special to many, many people.
‘Currently, we are focussed on making the site safe, and helping staff and the community come to terms with the news.
‘We will be working with Northumberland National Park, other partners and the local community to consider plans for the site and the tree in the future, and we will inform people as soon as we know.’
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