Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most famous historical sites in the British Isles. Construction began around 122 CE and the wall stretched for 73 miles across northern England. It once marked the edge of the Roman Empire. Several sections and fortifications of the wall remain today and are a popular tourist attraction. However, one site owes its interest more to Hollywood than to the ancient Romans.
There are several natural channels in the wall carved by glacial meltwater. In one such channel, a lone sycamore tree stands.
This has created a unique visual that has become a favorite of artists and photographers. Location scouts for the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves admired the location enough to feature it on Robin’s journey from the South of England to Sherwood Forest.
Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman’s brief visit has immortalized this area, and it’s now referred to as the “Robin Hood Tree.”
Know Before You Go
If you want to trek to the tree rather than just view it from the road (it's easily visible as you drive past), parking is available, just a short walk away at Steel Rigg, or down the road at The Sill visitor center.
Following the surfaced path down from where the car park meets the Pennine Way, you will first see a grassy path and then a path made from embedded stones.
Follow the path to the left for an exhilarating and picturesque climb on the Pennine Way, up and down on Hadrian's Wall with a number of steep climbs and open steps before passing Milecastle 39 immediately before the tree.
If you're looking for an easier walk or are nervous about heights, turn right instead of left at the stone path leading down to the wall and follow the steps up to the small gate on the right. Head down and to the left of Peel Cottage. This takes you onto the grassy Hadrian's Wall Path which skirts the back of the crags and is much easier. You'll see the Milecastle and the tree on your left.
Don't be tempted to walk straight across the fields on the left of the car park, as the land below the tree on this side can get extremely marshy.
From the village or visitor center, walk up the lane at the B6318 crossroads and turn right after Peel Cottage onto the marked footpath. The Pennine Way and the steep steps leading up to the wall are through the gate up on the left, and the Hadrian's Wall path is directly on the right.
Best to plan ahead, as the location can become crowded.