Dark Hedges concern

Tree falls in July at Dark Hedges.
Tree falls in July at Dark Hedges.

Coleraine councillor Trevor Clarke has called on Council to do more to help protect the Dark Hedges in Stranocum.

During last Tuesday’s Leisure and Development Committee meeting, the councillor asked: “The Dark Hedges is one of the Borough’s many outstanding assets, but unlike others the Hedges are under severe threat of being a victim of their own success as a tourist attraction.

“Heavy visitor traffic from another busy tourist season is taking its toll on the trees that make up the hedges whilst creating a dangerous mix of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

“What progress has been made since Council agreed measures in March to ensure the Dark Hedges survive as a tourist attraction for decades to come, and to prevent what seems to be an inevitable accident at this tourism hotspot? What steps can this Council take to expedite the implementation of these measures agreed five months ago?”

He continued: “Reports say there’s 10 years left if we do nothing or 50 years left if we put a management plan now.”

Peter Thompson, Head of Tourism and Recreation gave members an update explaining that a verbal agreement had been made between Council officers and landowners regarding the purchase of a stripe of land to give pedestrians safe access on the other side of the road.

He also outlined that landowners were in agreement regarding the closure of Bregagh Road and that Transport NI were putting temporary signage for safe and appropriate parking as well as looking into the transport and traffic problems. “Council is also considering the transfer of ownership and taking it on with the intension of preserving them,” he added

Mr Thompson agreed to report back to members in October/November.