Hadrian’s Wall was damaged during the felling of a nearby world-famous tree, inspectors have found.
The Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland, believed to have been about 300 years old, was cut down overnight between Wednesday and Thursday last week, in what detectives have called a “deliberate act of vandalism”.
Early signs suggest historical landmark Hadrian’s Wall, which stands next to where the sycamore had been, sustained “some damage”, preservation body Historic England has said.
It comes after Northumbria Police arrested a man in his 60s and a 16-year-old boy in connection with the incident.
Both have been released on bail.
“Whilst we identified that Hadrian’s Wall has sustained some damage, we have not been able to access the site to carry out a full investigation so a further archaeological appraisal will take place once the site is considered safe.
“As the government’s heritage adviser, we are involved because Hadrian’s Wall is protected as a scheduled monument.
“We appreciate how strongly people feel about the loss of the tree, and its impact on this special historic landscape, and will continue to work closely with key partners as this progresses.”
The wall, built by the Roman army on the orders of emperor Hadrian, has Unesco World Heritage status.
The sycamore was looked after by Northumberland National Park Authority and the National Trust.
It was among the UK’s most photographed trees and was made famous in a scene in Kevin Costner’s 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.
Experts have said new shoots are expected to grow from the tree but it will never be the same again.