Essential work starts on Dark Hedges

WORK gets underway at the Dark Hedges on Thursday.INBM37-14 001SC.
WORK gets underway at the Dark Hedges on Thursday.INBM37-14 001SC.

The Bregagh Road, home of the famous Dark Hedges, will be closed during early September for some tree maintenance.

Details of the work, which started last week, will include the felling of some of the famous trees which are beyond preservation.

The news of the work, funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund, was released by the Dark Hedges Preservation Trust.

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A spokesperson for the Trust said: “Following two extensive tree surveys and a thorough procurement process we have appointed a suitably qualified tree surgeon to carry out the recommended maintenance works on the trees to ensure the preservation of the ancient beech trees and the safety of the public as far as is reasonably possible.

“These works, which are part of a wider project to improve the visitor experience, have been funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“Beech trees reach maturity at 150/200 years and these ones are about 200 to 250 years so they are past maturity.

“About three of them are dead or diseased so they have to be felled.

“The only other works will be the removal of dead branches that overhang the public road. This will be to safeguard the public. Dead branches that overhang the adjoining fields will not be touched as we do not want to have a visual impact on the tunnel at all, if possible.

“The works can only commence after the nesting season hence the contractor will be on site to start work after 1st September. The works will last approximately 10 days.

“We have also been liaising with NI Tourist Board, Ballymoney Borough Council, Moyle District Council, The Hedges Hotel and DRD Road Service to install brown tourism signs to facilitate the number of visitors to the area and we have been informed that these signs will be installed late September/early October.

“Due to the popularity of the HBO series Game of Thrones the site, known in the series as The Kings Road, has become even more popular, with visitors flocking to the Bregagh Road on a daily basis on buses, bicycles and cars,” concluded the spokesman.

In 2004 the DoE (NI) Planning Service placed a Tree Preservation Order on the trees. The Order is intended to ensure the preservation of the trees while allowing work to safeguard road users.