Over the past 300 years an amazing array of beech trees has formed on Bregagh Road near Armoy, County Antrim. Planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century, these trees are world renowned as The Dark Hedges and as you can see from the images in this article, they are quite spectacular. The avenue leads to Gracehill Mansion, the Stuart’s former home which is now a golf club. It is easy to see why The Dark Hedges is one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland. They look amazing in any light, at any angle. In black and white or color, morning, noon or night, they never cease to inspire or fascinate those that are fortunate enough to visit them.
But travelers beware. The lane is reputedly haunted by a spectral “grey lady” who wanders up and down this enchanted hollow. She appears at dusk among the trees and silently glides along the roadside and disappears as she passes the last beech tree. Personally, I could see Tim Burton’s Headless Horseman galloping down this lane amidst, blowing leaves, lightning and some creepy Danny Elfman music.
Regardless of any potential for a spectral encounter, I would LOVE the chance to wander beneath the entwined birch branches. The place looks absolutely enchanting and I have a strong feeling that it is even better when you visit it in person.
If you would like to visit this magical place, here are directions. From Belfast, take the M2 north out of the city and look for the A26 just north of the town of Antrim. Take the A26 north toward and around Ballymena, and about 7 miles past Ballymena look for where the road forks with an option to take the A44 (Drones Road) toward Armoy and Ballycastle. Stay on the A44 for another 7 miles or so, and before reaching the village of Armoy, make a left onto the Bregagh Road. After about a mile you will cross over the B15 (Gracehill Road), and stay straight for another mile until you cross over the Ballykenver Road.