Northern Ireland news

Dark Hedges: Vehicles to be banned from attraction amid conservation fears

The Dark Hedges near Stranocum, Co Antrim

CARS and buses are to be banned from driving along the Dark Hedges in Co Antrim from the end of this month.

The Department for Infrastructure has announced that it is banning private vehicles from using the Bregagh Road near Stranocum following concerns the historic trees are being damaged.

The tree-lined avenue of beech trees dates from the 18th century.

But the road has seen a huge increase in tourist traffic after the Dark Hedges featured in popular fantasy drama Game of Thrones.

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

As well as damage caused by tour buses and cars to the trees' root systems, graffiti and sectarian slogans have also been carved into the beeches.

The ban, which is due to take effect on October 30, does not apply to some vehicles including tractors, post office vans and contractors carrying out work along the road.

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Northern Ireland news