Plans to deal with Dark Hedges damage

Plans are afoot to deal with the ongoing issue of cars and coaches parking under the trees at the Dark Hedges causing irreparable damage, writes Gillian Anderson, Local Democracy Reporter.

Causeway Coast & Glens Councillors were told that there are ‘short term and long term plans’ during a deputation by DfI Roads, Northern Division.

The Dark Hedges has been described as one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland after it was made famous in Game of Thrones, however, visitors parking at the site has caused damage to the road verges and even the roots of the centuries-old beech trees.

UUP Alderman Joan Baird asked Colin Hutchinson, Divisional Roads Manager for DfI Roads Northern Division if ‘we can get the road closed.’

Alderman Baird added: “I know the farmers there and I don’t believe any of them would have any objections to keeping a key for a barrier.

“It’s getting ridiculous now, as you know there is car parking there and if people aren’t using the car parking it’s just plain lazy. People should be jolly well made to use the car park that is available.

“It’s destroying the Hedges and we have had two more trees down. Please try and get that road closed, even semi-permanently.”

Mr Hutchinson responded: “We are working closely with all stakeholders to provide a solution there both in the short term and long term.

“In the short term we will be enhancing the signage for the car parking and also where you turn into the Dark Hedges we will be providing a gateway there to make it very clear you should not be there.

“There are also medium and long term plans also being discussed.”