Six of the world famous Game of Thrones Kings Road beech trees to be removed from Dark Hedges avenue
The trees on the Bregagh Road, Armoy, are on privately owned land. Following concerns about the condition of some of the trees, the Department commissioned an independent specialist survey which found that eleven trees, out of a total of 86, along this route are in a poor condition and could pose a potential risk to the public.
The Department said it immediately liaised with the relevant landowners and other stakeholders, however, given the urgency of the work required, arrangements have now been made to remove six of the trees (stump retained) and carry out remedial work to four trees, to reduce the risk to the wider public. The condition of one further tree will be assessed on site.
In a statement, the Department for Infrastructure said: “This decision has not been made lightly and whilst the amenity value afforded by the corridor of trees is acknowledged, the safety of road users is paramount. The Department will continue to engage with landowners and other stakeholders regarding their implementation of a suitable management strategy to protect the future of the other 75 trees.
"Completion of the works on or before 24 November 2023 is dependent on favourable weather conditions, however the Department will keep the public informed of any change.
"All work will be carried out in line with current public health and health and safety advice, with safe systems of working in place for staff and contractors.”
The Bregagh Road, which is already closed to traffic at this location, will also be closed to pedestrians during these planned works. The Department said that it apologises for any inconvenience. In order to ensure the safety for the contractors and the public, everyone is asked to comply with the road closures and restrictions.
The 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 Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. Two centuries later, the trees have become one of the most photographed parts of Northern Ireland.