The Dark Hedges can be located in Stranocum, County Antrim in Northern Ireland. The avenue of beech trees were planted by the Stuart family in around 1775, and were intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House.
Two hundred years later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland. So much so, that the iconic trees have been used as a filming location in HBO’s hit TV series Game of Thrones, representing the King’s Road.
Most notably they featured in episode “The North Remembers”, (season2, ep 1), where, on the King’s Road, Arya Stark has escaped from King’s Landing, disguised as a boy. She is with Yoren, Gendry, Hot Pie and others who are to join the Night’s Watch, in a cart, travelling north on the King’s Road.
Of the 150 trees originally planted by the Stuart family, about 85 still remain to this day.
There is a ghost story relating to the area about the grey lady, a spirit that glides along the Bregagh Road, sashaying between the gnarled trees. She vanishes from sight when she passes the last tree.
Some local people believe she is the ghost of a maid from the nearby house who died in mysterious circumstances centuries ago, whilst some believe she is perhaps the daughter of James Stuart, referred to as ‘Cross Peggy’, others believe that she is a lost spirit from an old, deserted graveyard that is thought to lie hidden in the fields nearby. On Halloween night, the forgotten graves are said to open and the Grey Lady is joined on her walk by the tormented souls of those who were buried beside her.
By Paul Middleton, source: Ghosts, the paranormal, myths and legends
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