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Sycamore Gap and Castle Nick

On Hadrian's Wall   Northumberland

Featured Location Guide

Sycamore Gap, the milecastle is over the hill to the left of the photo

Milecastle 39, built in a natural nick in the hillside is near where the wall runs through a gap and at the bottom there is a large tree.

Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's Wall,  also known as Robin Hood's Tree, was featured in the 1991 film version of Robin Hood, 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves'.  Robin and an Arab friend arrive back in Britain at Dover and are making their way to Loxley near Nottingham and are seen crossing the wall, as well as walking up its steep incline on top of the wall. This is, in the film, the point that Robin first comes into conflict with the Sheriff of Nottingham's men who are after a small boy who is trapped by dogs up a tree. Perhaps I should explain for any reader not well up on Britain's geography that this is a long way north of a route between Dover and Nottingham.

Along the wall there are many points where the wall goes up and down extreme hillsides as it follows the high ground. Other nearby places are Cawfields Roman Wall and Milecastle 42  and Steel Rigg.

Milecastle 39 is known as Castle Nick as it sits in a nick in the hillside with good views of both sides. It was partly excavated by archaeologists in the 19th century, and more fully in the 1980's by conservation workers. The milecastle measures 19m long by 15.5m across with stone walls standing 1.75m high. The excavations in the mid-1980's revealed that barrack blocks that were initially built inside the milecastle had later been replaced by small individual buildings. The milecastle was occupied continuously until the fourth century AD which is most unusual, perhaps suggesting there was also a signal tower here.

Photographs and commentary from the dig during the mid-1980's that revealed the milecastle as it is seen today can be found at www.twoatlarge.com/ralph/archaeology/newarch/hadrianswall-1.html

You can walk along the wall to reach this point but you can also see it from a nearby road, all my photos are taken from the road.

Viewing from a little further back, by the road,
you can see the Castle Nick mile fort to the left.

Zooming in from the same location you can see people under the tree and on the hill on the left,
this gives you some idea of the size of tree and hillsides,
the top photo on this page also includes people.

Another view from just slightly further along the road, you can still just see the milecastle

View from the north.

Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham used with permission. Previously on www.visitcumbria.com

Photo by Adam Cuerden looking east, showing a better view of Castle Nick

View looking from the north towards the south.

Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham used with permission. Previously on www.visitcumbria.com

Location: Sycamore Gap and Castle Nick, Northumberland

Grid Reference: NY761677 Ceremonial County: Northumberland

Map Link: Multimap

Aerial photo: Multimap Google

Getting there: You can see this from the road, all my photos are taken from the road, otherwise you can walk to it along the wall path.

Access: available at all times
Other Useful Websites: Wikipedia    Geograph including many close up images
Postcode: Telephone:
Opening Times: open path available at all times

Charges: FREE

Nearby Locations: Cawfields Roman Wall and Milecastle 42   and Steel Rigg  

as well as many other points along the wall see Hadrian's Wall - Featured Places

Other Location Pages: Hadrian's Wall Route Guide

Other Relevant Pages:  Roman Frontiers    Hadrian's Wall      

Hadrian's Wall - Featured Places






Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid(s) or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

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By: Keith Park   Section: Roman Key:  
Page Ref: Sycamore_gap Topic: Roman Britain Last Updated: 05/2010


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