Dark Hedges road signage embarrassment, say residents

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...the most photographed natural phenomena in Ulster.

“They are protected by a Tree Preservation Order issued by the Northern Ireland Planning Service.

“The Dark Hedges Preservation Trust was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £43,000 to ensure the uniqueness of these trees is preserved and perpetuated for many decades to come.

“The carrying out of this work, which will be managed by the Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust under a Service Level Agreement with the Hedges Preservation Trust.

“The Heritage Trust launched the project at a well-attended public consultation meeting at Gracehill Golf Club earlier this year and preparations to take the project forward are now progressing.

“The first element is the development and implementation of the conservation works.

“The project also includes the provision of interpretation at the site telling the story of the Dark Hedges. Brown tourist direction signs will also be provided.

“Ballymoney tourist office receives many inquiries from visitors about the location of the trees, and this interest has substantially increased following the feature of the in the popular Game of Thrones.

“As an interim response pending the completion of the HLF project the Council’s development unit has included location details on its visitor website www.visitballymoney.com.

“This includes postcode for GPS/Sat Nav and grid reference. The unit has also produced an explanatory leaflet including map and directions.”

The Dark Hedges has recently beeen highlighted in a wide range of films, advertisements and promotions.

It was featured in the hugely successful HBO series Game of Thrones.

The unique trees also formed an integral part of a recent Northern Ireland Tourist Board campaign, highlighting all the facilities and attractions of the north coast.

This beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their home, Gracehill House. Two centuries later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become known as the Dark Hedges. The road is reputedly haunted by a spectral ‘Grey Lady’.