Friday, 4 March 2016

The Dark Hedges - Preservation - "Causeway Coastal Route"

Visulante writes:

Causeway Coastal Route at The Dark Hedges

A visitor enjoying a solitary experience of the Dark Hedges. This beautiful avenue of elderly beech trees suddenly became a big attraction after featuring in a scene from an HBO (Home Box Office) production. Though the avenue prior to this has been quietly discovered and enjoyed by visitors for well over two hundred years.

Unfortunately for the preservation of the site and and conservation of the trees, those charged with developing tourism infrastructure applied no real vision or foresight to the avenue in anticipation of the huge increase in footfall that a sustained global advertising campaign would generate. This has led to some serious verge destruction, traffic management issues, littering and some minor vandalism to the trees themselves.

It has also led to a visually cluttered avenue in summertime where unrestricted parking occurs, making it far from the idyllic view enjoyed by the visitor in the photo above. Having said that the avenue is still very unique though the experience could be dramatically and simply improved.

Much lobbying has taken place and hopefully the powers that be will take some urgent action to remedy the situation for the benefit and enjoyment of all.

In the meantime, one way to help in preserving and increasing the visitor experience at the site is to not park on the avenue itself. This will at least leave the avenue free of cars and coaches and more attuned to the idyllic vision which is used to globally promote the site. It will allow visitors, many of whom have travelled thousands of miles, to enjoy a more pedestrian view of the trees rather than an avenue of park cars and coaches.

There are two facilities adjacent to the avenue (hotel and country house), one with free parking and both with refreshment facilities.

This past winter we lost more two trees to high winds and several limbs damaged. These natural elements are unavoidable but the current issues are easily remedied.

For more information about the area visit: Causeway Coastal Route and look under 'Armoy'

I am personally very passionate about this because the Dark Hedges inspired my imagination during formative years spent with grandparents a few miles away at Cloughcorr.