Photo Showdown – The Sycamore Gap

Many readers have commented about the photos used on this blog, so I wanted to feature a few photos that I come across that don’t quite fit into a full length article. Each week, I’ll select two photos (with creative commons licenses) from the web of the same tree, and readers can decide which photo best captures the spirit of the tree. For this inaugural edition, I’ve chosen the Sycamore Gap tree located in Northumberland, England.

First a bit about the tree. It’s located in a dip in the landscape along Hadrian’s Wall, which is an Roman ancient fortification near the Scottish border. It’s the largest Roman artifact anywhere in the world, and it was made a UNESCO World Heritage site way back in 1987.

The tree grows right along the path that attracts thousands of visitors each year, so it quickly became one of the most photographed trees in the UK. It was also featured in the 1991 Kevin Kostner movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, further elevating its fame. In 2016, it was voted England’s Tree of the Year.

And now for the photos. Note that clicking on the images or the names below will take you to a larger version of the pictures.

Photo 1 by Tim Withnall
Photo 2 by Monty Trent

Now vote for your favorite!

Drop a comment below if you’ve visited the tree yourself or just want to say hi. It’s always nice to hear from you!

17 thoughts on “Photo Showdown – The Sycamore Gap”

    1. Oh, I get it. There are only two pictures of the same tree. Wow, they are both good pictures. I think the tree seems to like people in the picture. I will go back and look, but I think I will vote for the first picture.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh duh! Of course! It is something like the Norway maple, Acer platanoides. It is the false sycamore maple that looks like the sycamore-leaved maple. I still prefer the same picture. It shows the tree more than the landscape, and I like that it has friends.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep! This tree actually finished 4th in the European competition, with a Polish oak taking first. The trees win a bit of money for conservation, but the real goal of the project is to highlight the natural and cultural heritage of trees. Definitely something I can get behind. 😉


  1. I’ve been reading bits and pieces of, “The Hidden Lives of Trees” (hope I got the title correct) and, after reading these bits, I don’t like to see a tree alone. Trees are meant to live in forests, colonies, groups, stands, whatever you want to call them. This tree is probably very happy for the visitors it gets, but it would be happier with others near it.


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