King to plant sapling from Sycamore Gap tree in Windsor Great Park | King Charles III

The first successful seedling nurtured from seeds collected from the 200-year-old Sycamore Gap tree, which was illegally felled, will be planted in Windsor Great Park after being given to King Charles by the National Trust.

The king intends that the seedling, presented as a gift on the last bank holiday Monday in May, known as Celebration Day, when we remember those no longer with us, will be planted when it has matured into a sapling for visitors to the park to enjoy it as a symbol that hope and beauty can come from loss, the charity said.

The 15-metre tree, a much-loved feature of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, was cut down in September.

The king, who is patron of the conservation charity, is the first recipient of a seedling, one of 100 seeds and 40 cuttings successfully propagated from the tree by experts at the National Trust’s Plant Conservation Centre. The National Trust will announce planting plans for the other seedlings and cuttings late this year.

The first Sycamore Gap seedling successfully propagated from the tree. Photograph: Emma McNamara

The famous sycamore was named England’s tree of the year in 2016. It featured in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and was a popular site for stargazing and marriage proposals.

The hope is that, once the sapling has established and grown, in time the wind will help ensure its seeds are even more widely distributed – rooted in the past, flourishing in the present and carried into the future, the charity said.

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Hilary McGrady, the director general of the National Trust, said: “It is wonderful news that His Majesty will one day have the very first sapling grown from this iconic tree. The new tree will be seen by many thousands each year and will be the first of many Sycamore Gap saplings planted at different places, in Northumberland and beyond.

“The swell of emotion we saw after the sycamore was felled goes to show how personally connected we all are to our natural heritage. These new green shoots are keeping the story of the Sycamore Gap alive, and are serving as a reminder of the simple and much-needed hope, joy and respite that nature can bring.”

The public received its first glimpse of a Sycamore Gap seedling in the National Trust show garden at the Chelsea flower show last week, where it was placed in a garden inspired by the charity’s founder, Octavia Hill, with the aim of reflecting how everyone needs access to nature, beauty and gardens.

Two people have appeared in court charged with criminal damage for allegedly cutting down the tree.

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