Northern Ireland news

Two Dark Hedges trees blown down in Storm Arwen

Storm Arwen has claimed two of the trees at The Dark Hedges in Co Antrim. Pic: Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk

TWO of the Dark Hedges trees, made famous by TV series Game of Thrones, have been blown over during Storm Arwen.

They came down during strong winds in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The distinctive tunnel of beech trees on the Bregagh Road near Armoy in Co Antrim is a popular tourist attraction.

The trees are estimated to date back to around 1775, but it is thought some of them could be up to 300 years old.

Damage was also caused by Storm Hector in June 2018 when a number of branches were broken.

Tourists continue to visit the Dark Hedges where two trees were brought down by strong winds at the weekend. Pic: Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk.

Bob McCallion from the group Save the Dark Hedges said it is a "certainty" more will be lost in the future.

"As the tree line diminishes and there is less shelter, you will lose them," he said.

"The situation of the management of the Dark Hedges and the actual road itself is not what I would consider to be ideal."

Mr McCallion, who has been campaigning for more protection for the trees, said progress is "virtually non-existent or very slow".

"We need to have a specialist body that will manage the Dark Hedges and influence some of the other stakeholders like the Road Service and the council to help them protect the trees," he told the BBC.

He added that the 2017 move to ban traffic from the area "hasn't been totally successful".

The trees were planted by the Stuart family more than 200 years ago along the entrance to their Gracehill House mansion.

About 150 were planted by James Stuart but fewer than two thirds remain standing.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news