Where is this walk?

The walk to Sycamore Gap

March 13, 2024

The tree at Sycamore Gap was felled in 2023 in an act of vandalism. In the past the tree marked a significant marker for taking the walk along Hadrian’s Wall. Now the short walk to Sycamore Gap from the nearby Twice Brewed makes for a pilgrimage for many.

Some people are simply ignorant. There is no other way to describe the act of vandalism, allegedly due to a local dispute, that has resulted in the felling of the Sycamore Tree on Hadrian’s Wall. The tree itself had grown in perfect symmetry in a gap between two steep section’s of Hadrian’s Wall. Many thousands knew it personally, many millions had seen it as part of a scene from the film Robin Hood Price of Thieves. Now it is just a stump. However the National Trust and Northumberland National Park are hoping for signs of life and eventual regrowth of the tree. However it will be 3 years till we know if this is possible.

The Walk

Sycamore Gap was always a popular short walk from the National Park Centre at the Sill (or the excellent Twice Brewed pub) but seems more so now. I had visited the tree a number of times, including on my Hadrian’s Wall Crossing. In 2024 I returned. It is little more than two miles there and back but makes for an excellent short walk. Sticking to the wall on the way out is steep and continually undulating. However there are excellent views along the wall to the east and to the north over the waters of Crag Lough.

In addition Milecastle 39A lies in a small ‘nick’ overlooking Steel Crags. It is a fine place. The tree stump is presently enclosed by a low fence and there are hopes it will eventually re-grow. Even without the tree itself the remarkably symmetrical steep sides of the wall make it a fine, if a little sad, place. The return can be easily made along the lower path which avoid the undulations.

The main photo is one in 2019 which is of lesser quality but shows the tree in all its glory. The remaining photos are from the recent visit with good weather in 2024.


For those wishing to avoid the short but sharp road climb from the Sill there is a car park at Steel Rigg, just a few yards higher up the road.

Navigation Tips on the Walk to Sycamore Gap

Contours. On the highest point alongside the wall look north and match the perfect grassy spur with the contours on the map. It is looking at these features and comparing the real with the drawn that will give you a much fuller understanding of the importance of contours.

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