Northern Ireland's Game Of Thrones trees in danger as preservationists demand action

Stranocum, UK - Northern Ireland's Dark Hedges trees, made famous by TV series Game Of Thrones, could disappear within 15 years unless a plan is put in place for their preservation, a campaigner has warned.

The Game of Thrones-famous Dark Hedges trees in Northern Ireland are in danger if a preservation plan is not put forward.
The Game of Thrones-famous Dark Hedges trees in Northern Ireland are in danger if a preservation plan is not put forward.  © PAUL FAITH / AFP

Mervyn Storey, chairman of the Dark Hedges Preservation Trust, said the state of the popular visitor attraction has declined sharply in recent years and called for an aggressive replanting scheme to fill out gaps created by trees which have fallen or been cut down.

Work began in November to cut down six of the trees and carry out remedial work on several others on safety grounds.

The tunnel of trees became famous when it was featured in the HBO fantasy series and now attracts significant numbers of tourists from around the world.

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However, concerns have been raised about the state of several of the beech trees, and a number have blown down during storms in recent years.

Storey told the PA news agency: "These trees are 300 years old, so obviously there is a challenge in terms of how do you maintain something of that age?"

"There is a natural lifespan and obviously that’s coming progressively closer and closer to an end."

Conservationists call for plan to preserve Dark Hedges

Storey said focus now needed to turn towards preserving the state of the trees which are left.

He said: "If you look at the Dark Hedges, it is not as it once was, it is different because nature has taken its toll, trees have fallen as a result of wind, decay."

"We are now at a place where I think there will be a refocusing of the minds of those who have a genuine interest in trying to preserve what is left."

"If it is not done it will deplete and it could disappear in 10-15 years."

Cover photo: PAUL FAITH / AFP

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