Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Dark Hedges, Ballymoney - An Abuse of Heritage?

click image to enlarge

Questions have been asked about a sheep-wire fence topped with barbed wire that has recently been erected at the Dark Hedges, one of North Antrim's iconic beauty spots which lies about 5 miles ENE of Ballymoney, Co Antrim. The new fencing is far more visually obtrusive than the old.

  • If such fencing was necessary could it not have been placed behind the trees? 
  • Is it currently permissible to put barbed wire atop a new roadside fence?
  • What were the terms of the application for Heritage Lottery Funds?
  • What conditions were attached to the HLF grant?

The Dark Hedges Preservation Trust, a body containing local landowners, a local councillor, a tree specialist and other interested members of the public, has received £43,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. According to the Fund, in a letter to Ian Paisley jnr MP, the project 'aims to conserve an ‘avenue’ of 150 beech trees, and to increase awareness at a local and national level of the cultural and historical significance of veteran trees'.

You Tube - The Dark Hedges

Dark Hedges to feature in Countryfile 2012 calendar

Heritage Lottery Fund Application

Summary of progress

06 Dec 2010 - "Congratulations, Heritage Trust, you have been awarded a grant of up to £43,000." .. "You must provide with the Permission to Start form evidence of a full lease .." The project must begin within twelve months of the December 6, 2010 letter and there may be penalties if the project commences prior to permission being given.

12 Oct 2011 - Even though fencing has begun the project "has not yet had [HLF] permission to start".