A local hotelier has hit out at what he calls a reluctance to erect proper direction signs to steer visitors to Stranocum’s Dark Hedges.
The unusual looking trees have long been a tourist attraction but the last two years has seen their popularity sky-rocket following their appearance in the worldwide smash TV series Game of Thrones.
Now Ricky Parkhill, owner of the Hedges Hotel and Restaurant, has called on authorities to erect “brown signs” to direct members of the attraction.
“At the moment, you could arrive at the Dark Hedges and see anything from ten to 14 cars parksed along there as well as tour coaches.
“Now that’s not great when you want to get some nice photographs.
“We have offered to allow tourists to use our car park and toilet facilities and have asked for signs to be erected highlighting where the Dark Hedges and where our restaurant is, but we keep being given various reasons why this can’t happen.
“If you drive to the Giant’s Causeway there are two signs, side by side, telling people how to get to the Causeway itself and also how to get to the Causeway Hotel.
“Just today, I had a lady in the restaurant asking for directions to the trees. She kept saying ‘no signs, no signs’
“We see French, Italian, American, Chinese visitors, people from all over the world, all looking for the Dark Hedges and yet there are no signs.
“For the past three and a half months I have been asking for signs but no joy.
“There is a great sign in Ballintoy, telling people all about its involvement in Game of Thrones so why can’t we have something like that here?
“How is anyone supposed to find these fantastic trees when we don’t tell them where they are?”
A spokesperson for Ballymoney Council said: “Approval for erection of signage is a matter for decision by NITB and DRD Roads Service who have a policy with criteria which must be met. Council does have a role in annual audit of brown signs and facilitating applications.”