Northern Ireland

Game of Thrones: Dark Hedges tree falls in high winds

Dark hedge tree
Image caption The Dark Hedges are estimated to date back to about 1775

A tree made famous by the TV fantasy drama Game of Thrones has fallen in strong winds.

Gale force winds of up to 60 mph hit Northern Ireland overnight on Saturday.

The Dark Hedges are a tunnel of beech trees on the Bregagh Road near Armoy that have become an an international tourist attraction since featuring in the hit series.

Some of the trees were previously damaged during the turbulent weather of Storm Hector in June 2018.

Image copyright Northern Ireland Tourist Board
Image caption The intertwined beech branches and gnarled trunks make the Dark Hedges an iconic sight

The trees were originally planted by the Stuart family along the entrance to their Gracehill House mansion.

Over the decades, the branches grew over the road and became entangled and intertwined, creating a covered passageway with something of an ethereal feel.

Originally, there were about 150 trees, but time has taken its toll and now only about 90 remain.

Paddy Cregg, from the Woodland Trust, told BBC News NI that the trees date back to 1775 and by beech tree standards, they were "old aged pensioners".

He added: "They are coming to the end of their life, normally beech trees survive around 250 years, they are probably now 240 years old.

"It's sad to see that one by one they are actually falling".

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