Northern Ireland news

Concerns at further damage to Game of Thrones' Dark Hedges location after Easter gridlock

It has been claimed the Dark Hedges ancient trees are being destroyed by visitors to the Co-Antrim attraction. Picture Margaret McLaughlin.

CONCERNS have been raised that further damage is being caused to the iconic Dark Hedges attraction in Co Antrim after hundreds of tourists flocked to the site, causing traffic gridlock over the Easter holidays.

The ancient trees planted by the Stuart family in the 1700s, feature in the HBO cult series Game of Thrones, which has dramatically increased the volume of visitors to the area in recent years.

Of the 150 trees originally planted just 90 remain, with one uprooted earlier this year by Storm Doris.

While environmentalists have expressed concern at the damage tour buses and cars are causing to the root systems there has also been more visible damage with graffiti and sectarian slogans carved into the beech trees.

DUP councillor Ian Stevenson said traffic should now be controlled on the road to "preserve this fantastic asset".

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