A man who planted a sapling at the site of the felled tree at Sycamore Gap in Northumberland is “devastated” it has been removed by the National Trust.
The almost 300-year-old sycamore was chopped down overnight on Wednesday in “a deliberate act of vandalism”, sparking a police investigation.
Moved by the public outrage over the felling, Kieran Chapman, 27, from Westerhope near Newcastle, planted a new tree just metres from the stump near Hadrian’s Wall.
He told the ChronicleLive he did it “just because everyone was devastated...to restore people’s faith in humanity, bring a smile back to people’s faces, and just give them a bit of hope”.
But the National Trust promptly removed the sapling, saying the site is a “globally important archaeological setting” and permission must be sought before changes are made to it.
It said it is working with Mr Chapman to find “a more appropriate planting spot” for it.
Mr Chapman told the Chronicle he believed his sapling was “not doing any harm”.
He wrote on Facebook that he was “absolutely gutted” the tree had been removed, adding: “I understand the land is protected, but to protect a tree from being planted in the earth, where they’re designed to be, no matter where it’s location, is crazy”.
Two people have been arrested in connection to the felling of the original sycamore tree, which was one of the most famous in the UK, having featured in a key scene in Kevin Costner’s 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.
Following its felling, devastated fans shared stories of proposing to their partners beneath the tree, and scattering loved ones’ ashes there.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of criminal damage and has since been released on bail pending further inquiries.
A man in his 60s was arrested by police on Friday evening.
Regarding the sapling, a National Trust spokesperson told ChronicleLive: “We understand the strength of feeling following the events at Sycamore Gap this week - and are grateful for the many offers of support and good wishes we’ve received from near and far.
“It’s important for everyone to remember that the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a globally important archaeological setting, with UNESCO World Heritage designation, and that altering or adding to it can damage the archaeology, and is unlawful without prior consent from Government.
“We urge anyone wanting to pay tribute to the Sycamore Gap tree to speak to the National Trust first. The public can leave pictures, poems and memories at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre over the weekend.
“The National Trust and Northumberland National Park, along with other partners and local people, are making plans for the site and the Sycamore Gap tree in the future, and we will inform people as soon as we know the best way forward. While regrettably we will be removing the sapling, we have spoken to the person who planted it, and are working with them to find an appropriate planting spot within the local area.”
The National Trust is hoping shoots can still grow from the stump of the felled tree.
General manager Andrew Poad told BBC Breakfast on Friday it is “very healthy” and said experts may be able to regrow a coppice from the stump, though it “won’t ever be the same shape or as good of a tree as it was”.