Belfast Telegraph

Game of Thrones Dark Hedges loses another tree to weather

Trees made famous by Game of Thrones which were damaged
Trees made famous by Game of Thrones which were damaged
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

A tree on Northern Ireland's most famous country road has been uprooted by strong winds which battered Co Antrim over the weekend.

One of the giant beeches that form the 'Dark Hedges', featured in HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones, fell victim to the icy blast of 60mph gales on Saturday night.

Causeway Coast and Glens councillor Joan Baird said she believes heavy numbers of tourists are contributing to the "terrible loss" for the Armoy site.

"These are very old trees, but cars and buses driving over their roots has been a problem that has taken too long to solve," she said.

Branches were ripped off the trees by similar gusts during Storm Hector last June.

Ms Baird warned at that time that trees would topple unless crowd control measures were implemented - now she is warning more could be lost.

"The vast numbers of visitors and the amount of cars is damaging the roots - it forces them to bend and squeeze in, which weakens the trees," she said.

"We need to hurry up and build an underpass from the nearby hotel car park to preserve these trees and the tourism benefits they bring."

Fans from all over the world flock to 'Kings Road' on the Bregagh Road to get a picture in front of the haunting backdrop.

Less than two thirds of the 150 trees planted along the entrance to the Stuart family's Gracehill House mansion more than two centuries ago remain standing.

The famous tunnel of trees - which provided Arya Stark with her escape route from King's Landing - is counted among the top 10 most-Instagrammed locations here, ranking even higher than Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

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