Sycamore Gap stood near Crag Lough on Hadrian's Wall. Photo: Bob Smith Photography

Sycamore Gap stood near Crag Lough on Hadrian's Wall. Photo: Bob Smith Photography

Two men have appeared at court in Newcastle-upon-Tyne accused of criminal damage in an incident in which the celebrated tree at Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall was felled.

Daniel Graham, 38, of Carlisle, Cumbria and Adam Carruthers of Wigton, Cumbria, appeared at Newcastle Magistrates Court.

They were both charged with causing criminal damage to the value of £622,191 to the tree, and £1,144 to Hadrian’s Wall, a Unesco world heritage site.

Graham pleaded not guilty to the charges, and Carruthers entered no plea.

The tree, at a site on the Roman wall close to Once Brewed, was chopped down overnight in September 2023. The large tree then fell onto the wall, which is cared for by the National Trust. Two national trails, the Pennine Way and the Hadrian’s Wall Path, pass the location.

The court heard the tree, a draw to thousands of visitors each year, was chopped down overnight on 28 September 2023. It is believed the sycamore had stood at the site since the late 19th century.

Prosecutors said the value of the damage had been assessed using a formula local authorities utilise to determine the sum needed to replace a tree.

District Judge Zoe Passfield committed the case to Crown Court, telling the two men, who arrived at the hearing with their faces obscured by balaclavas, it was too serious to be dealt with by magistrates.

The pair were unconditionally bailed to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on 12 June.

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