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The Dark Hedges

AKA the Kings Road, where Yoren is taking a party of recruits including Arya Stark north to the wall. Even though their appearance in Game Of Thrones is a momentary one, County Antrim’s Dark Hedges are instantly recognisable as the Kingsroad in the HBO television series.

The trees were planted some 200 years ago by the Stuart family along the entrance to their Gracehill House mansion. Over the years, the branches grew over the road and became intertwined, creating a covered passageway with something of an ethereal feel. Of the original 150 trees only about 90 remain.

The mixture of light and shadow at the Dark Hedges, as well as snow, mist or rain, attracts the amateur and professional photographer alike, both eager to capture a compelling image. American photographer Jim Zuckerberg is quoted as saying “this is one of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever seen”.

“The serpentine trees form a tunnel that is spectacular at any time of the day, but I find it particularly intriguing and mysterious just before dark,” he said.

Recently some of the trees were damaged in a storm. A campaign then put them on the map and the numbers of people coming to see them started to increase. After they were used in Game Of Thrones they went viral.

The job of maintaining the Dark Hedges has faced difficulties. A survey of the trees carried out in 2014 showed some were in much better health than others, and that they were vulnerable in severe weather. Many of the trees have lived well over their natural life. Work being done to protect the stunning natural landmark is proceeding very carefully. Its well worth a visit to the see this natural area of beauty.

For more information on the Dark Hedges click here

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