Game of Thrones landmark the Dark Hedges face the chop after being dubbed ‘unstable’

25 October 2023, 19:25 | Updated: 25 October 2023, 19:41

The Dark Hedges made appearances in TV series Game of Thrones.
The Dark Hedges made appearances in TV series Game of Thrones. Picture: Alamy
Jasmine Moody

By Jasmine Moody

Dangerously unstable Northern Irish beech trees from the Dark Hedges, which appear in Game of Thrones, may face the axe, marking the "beginning of the end", according to a DUP councillor.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Cllr Mervyn Storey spoke out after a report commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure called for the felling of 11 dangerously unstable trees from the famous landmark.

The trees may risk "killing someone", according to the report and many have already been brought down by stormy winds in recent years.

Experts at Tree Safety surveyed 80 of the 86 trees, finding that 30 were in fair condition but the rest were in a poor state and one was reported dead.

The investigation called for 11 trees to be removed, but six have tree protection orders and council consent is required, according to the Coleraine Chronicle.

Mr Storey, who is a member of the Dark Hedges Preservation Trust, acknowledged the report’s findings but added that an investigation by the Trust suggested only four or five trees needed to be felled.

Read more: Forest floor 'ripples like the sea' as trees buffeted by strong winds in Storm Babet

Read more: Sycamore Gap Tree being stored in 'secret location' to protect it from ‘souvenir hunters’ looking for keepsakes

He said: "There is a discussion ongoing between the findings of the two reports, and we will find a conclusion as to the number of trees which will need to come down.

"It’s [about] trying to keep something alive that has been in the intensive care unit for a good number of years.

"These trees are not going to last forever, and we’ve already lost a considerable amount as a result of weather and natural circumstances."

The trees may risk "killing someone", according to the report.
The trees may risk "killing someone", according to the report. Picture: Alamy

He added that he agreed with the findings but remained positive.

Mr Storey said: "Despite the multiple restrictions on the road, cars still continue to travel up it.

"But I think we need an agreed position on the process. It’s about reconciling both the reports and [securing] a meeting with minds between two professional groups", he added.

"I and no one else wants to see the beginning of the end of what is known as the Dark Hedges.

“There was no money put in to do something like an aggressive tree planting scheme, but my feeling it’s far too late for that.”

Mr Storey concluded: "We’ve had every first minister, including Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster, leaders from all over the world, people involved in all aspects of government come see the hedges and say, ‘This is great and we need to protect them’, and then there’s nothing, no money.

"It’s the harsh, hard reality, but this has been a long saga."

Bob McCallion, from the Save the Dark Hedges campaign group, acknowledged both reports but called for more support to help protect the tourist hot spot.

However, he accused the authorities of failing to take responsibility for the area and claimed it had been abandoned.

Mr McCallion said: "Because of the amount of people who stand under these trees, there is no way the council can reject these findings

"I don’t like using the word 'felled'. These trees are going to be condemned. But I’m not even sure they’ll do this because all these people want is the tourism.

"People are wringing their hands. If they don’t do something over these trees, someone is going to be killed because of the state they are in", he concluded.

It is believed the Dark Hedge's trees were planted around 1775.
It is believed the Dark Hedge's trees were planted around 1775. Picture: Alamy

The Dark Hedges are known for their appearance, as The Kingsroad, in the famous TV series, Game of Thrones.

It is believed that they were planted around 1775 and that there were originally 150 at the time

Beech trees are considered to be ancient when they are 225 years old.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Princess Anne is reportedly unable to remember what happened due to the nature of the injury.

Princess Anne ‘unable to recall exactly what happened’ after being ‘hit by horse’ as she faces several days in hospital

England have qualified for the last 16 at Euro 2024.

England qualify for last 16 at Euro 2024 after Spain beat Albania

Rishi Sunak criticised Labour's proposed plans to tackle migration rates in the UK.

UK would be ‘illegal migration capital of world’ under Labour, Sunak says as he sets out plans to ‘stop the boats’

Labour has made cutting knife crime a 'moral mission' should the party come to power

Labour makes cutting knife crime a 'moral mission' as Starmer proposes new child criminal exploitation offence

Spanish police are investigating if Jay's 'background' is relevant to the disappearance.

Spanish police searching for Jay Slater investigate if teenager’s background is ‘relevant’ to his disappearance

Lord Kinnock has said he would not wish being part of the current Tory government on his 'most bloodthirsty enemies'.

‘I wish I was fighting this lot’, ex-Labour leader Lord Kinnock says as he brands current Tory party 'superficial'

The president of Finland has said he 'doesn't agree with many things' Nigel Farage says in response to his comments on the war in Ukraine.

'Absolutely not': Finland's president dismisses Nigel Farage’s claim that Nato provoked Russia's war in Ukraine

A man went missing in the water off Bournemouth beach (file image)

Huge search operation launched for man missing in water off Bournemouth beach

Bosses face £1,000 fine for letting employees watch England's Euros clash with Denmark in the office

Offices showing England v Slovenia Euros clash could face hefty £1,000 fine

Princess Anne has been injured by a horse

King Charles sends 'fondest love’ to Princess Anne who will ‘quickly bounce back’ after being hit by horse

Callum the stag was "humanely euthanised".

Tourists blamed for death of 'legendary' stag after it was fed Rice Krispies and croissants

The Reform UK leader's comments came as he spoke to supporters at a rally in Kent on Tuesday, slamming the current government's ability to control immigration.

Farage warns of Channel migrant 'invasion' from countries 'with terrorism, gang culture and war zones'

Gavin Plumb is accused of plotting to kidnap Holly Willoughby

Obsessed security guard ‘plotted to keep Holly Willoughby in dungeon where screams couldn't be heard for miles'

At least two people have died in the fire

At least two dead as Moscow defence research centre bursts into flames ‘with staff trapped inside’

Parisians along River Seine, below Cathedral Notre Dame celebrate Fête de la Musique - annual city-wide music festival each June

British woman 'gang-raped in Paris at music festival'

Florida rapper Julio Foolio has been shot dead

Florida rapper Julio Foolio shot dead during his birthday in Florida