The County Antrim trees made famous by the “Game of Thrones” series are to be sealed off from road traffic from the end of this month. Kenneth Allen, geograph.ie

Game of Thrones filming location the Dark Hedges is struggling to cope with the hordes of tourist the hit HBO show has drawn to the site. 

The County Antrim trees made famous by the “Game of Thrones” series are to be sealed off from road traffic from the end of this month amid fears they are on the verge of collapse.

The Dark Hedges has become a huge tourist draw but with the hordes of tour buses has come traffic, litter and even vandalism and the “hedges” are feeling the strain.

The trees were planted 200 years ago by the Stuart family who was local landowners. They were little known outside the area until they featured in HBO’s Game of Thrones as the Kingsroad.

Read more: Travel through the land of Game of Thrones® in Northern Ireland

The Dark Hedges has been sealed off to traffic because of high tourist levels. Image: Tourism Ireland.

The Dark Hedges has been sealed off to traffic because of high tourist levels. Image: Tourism Ireland.

Despite only being shown for around ten seconds they have become one of Ireland’s most visited tourist attractions and to ensure they are here for generations into the future all vehicular traffic is to be banned from the road.

A public consultation on the banning of the traffic saw four objections to the proposals, but the authorities are going to press ahead with the ban.

Games of Thrones choosing Northern Ireland as a filming location has given a major boost to tourism

The Dark Hedges as seen in Game of Thrones.

The Dark Hedges as seen in Game of Thrones.

The decision by HBO to film Game of Thrones in County Antrim and County Down has delivered an unprecedented boost to local tourism.

Without factoring in tourism, filming alone is estimated to have brought £150 million to the local economy and pushed Northern Ireland’s fledgling creative industry to become a world leader.

Photo: Rossographer / geograph.ie

Photo: Rossographer / geograph.ie

Earlier this year, Belfast opened state of the art film studios with a prequel to the latest Superman movies - called “Krypton” and to be shown on the SyFy channel - the first production to move in.

The Dark Hedges are not the first Game of Thrones location to feel the strain of fan interest. Dubrovnick, which is the setting for Kings Landing on the show, recently had to cap the number of tourists allowed in each day. 

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