Painting Sycamore Gap From A Different Perspective

Painting Sycamore Gap From A Different Perspective

Posted by Joanne Wishart on

Painting Sycamore Gap From a Different Perspective


The North East is steeped with history, but nothing is quite as old or iconic as Hadrian’s Wall. This year, English Heritage is celebrating 1900 years of the historic structure. 


The UNESCO World Heritage Site is older than many modern nations, so it’s no wonder that people travel from all over the world to hike the length of the wall. 


The route stretches 84 miles from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway and is littered with beautiful sights - both natural and man-made. Roman Forts along the route include Chesters and Housesteads, the ruins of which made for a fascinating day out. However, in this blog, I want to talk about perhaps one of the most amazing natural phenomena along the route - Sycamore Gap.


As the name suggests, this wonder is a Sycamore tree perfectly nestled in the gap between two hills. The photogenic location is only a couple of miles from Housesteads and is a must-see, whether you’re walking the full walk or simply looking for a day out in Northumberland.

Interesting facts about Sycamore Gap

There’s something so fascinating about this tree, as it sits alone in the dramatic verge. It’s even won awards - including the Tree of The Year competition in 2016! Other facts about Sycamore Gap include:


  • The tree was featured in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991), starring Kevin Costner
  • Pottery dating back to the 2nd century has been found along the wall nearby Sycamore Gap
  • The bough also inspired a novel by local crime author LJ Ross.
  • The tree wasn’t always the sole occupier of the gap. Studies of the area show there used to be several sycamore trees in close proximity.

Where history meets nature

As you may know, I specialise in painting beautiful landscapes where nature meets historic buildings, such as Bamburgh Castle overlooking its eponymous beach, or St Mary’s Lighthouse looking out over Whitley Bay sands. 

So, it seemed only right to mark this special anniversary of the construction of Hadrian’s Wall with a few original paintings of Sycamore Gap - my favourite spot along the wall.

Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland on Hadrians Wall

While Sycamore Gap may be the most photographed place in the entire Northumberland National Park, I decided in order to paint it in all its glory, we needed to venture along there in person. My husband Ross and I visited the three-hundred-year-old tree on a mission to see the space from a different perspective. 

Sycamore Gap Tree on the path to Hadrians Wall

Typically, you see Sycamore Gap from the angle, creating an almost symmetrical horizon, with the tree nestled in the middle. However, I wanted to paint the site from a different angle. This original mixed media piece shows the path along Sycamore Gap as you approach the tree on a sunny day. 

Another original piece inspired by this trip to Sycamore Gap depicts the idyllic location from a more traditional perspective. The symmetry of the gorge surrounding the sycamore tree is what makes this natural phenomenon so interesting. 

Blue Sky Over Sycamore Gap - Original Painting // Limited Edition Print 

And last but not least, I took a more stylistic approach to painting Sycamore Gap in this square piece. The sweeping brushstrokes draw the eyes to the ancient bough, sitting proudly under sparse clouds on a sunny day.


Sycamore Gap - Original Painting // Limited Edition Print

Buy Sycamore Gap artwork

Any of these original pieces would make a stunning memento of this unique place. What better way to celebrate Hadrian’s Wall’s big birthday than with brand new artwork for your wall? 

All three of the above prints are also available as limited edition prints. Browse artwork on my website or pop by my gallery on St George's Road in Cullercoats to browse prints and choose a frame to match your interior. 

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