Northern Ireland

Dark Hedges damaged by Storm Hector

Trees damaged in Storm Hector at Dark Hedges Image copyright Bob McCallion
Image caption Many of the trees have "well over-lived their lifespan" and have become vulnerable to extreme weather

Trees made famous by the TV fantasy drama Game of Thrones have been damaged in Storm Hector.

Gales of up to 60mph swept across Northern Ireland overnight on Wednesday and continued on Thursday.

A number of trees at the Dark Hedges, a tunnel of beech trees on the Bregagh Road near Armoy, lost branches during the turbulent weather.

The trees have become an an international tourist attraction since featuring in the hit series.

Image copyright Bob McCallion
Image caption A number of trees have been damaged by poor weather in recent years

The Stuart family planted the trees more than 200 years ago along the entrance to their Gracehill House mansion.

About 150 were planted by James Stuart, but time has taken its toll over the centuries and now fewer than two thirds remain standing.

Last year, a traffic ban was implemented at the site to reduce man-made damage.

Image copyright Bob McCallion
Image caption The famous tunnel of beech trees was used by the Game of Thrones crew to represent the "Kingsroad"
Image copyright Bob McCallion
Image caption The latest damage was caused by Storm Hector

However, nature has also taken its toll - with two trees collapsing in 2016 during Storm Gertrude, and others losing branches due to rot.

The Dark Hedges became a huge draw for tourists and TV fans after they appeared, albeit very briefly, in the closing scene of one episode of Game of Thrones.

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