The Dark Hedges is an avenue of beech trees along Bregagh Road between Armoy and Stranocum in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
The beech trees were planted by James Stuart to frame an avenue to his home. The tree alley is no longer part of the Gracehill estate, but Gracehill House, a Georgian manor house that was originally built as the Stuart family home, is still standing today. The trees, which are now nearly 250 years old, are very atmospheric. Time, storms, and damage has caused many of the trees to be lost but around 90 of the original 150 trees are still surviving.
According to legend, the hedges are visited by a ghost called the Grey Lady, who travels the road and flits across it from tree to tree. She is claimed to be either the spirit of James Stuart’s daughter (named “Cross Peggy”) or one of the house’s maids who died mysteriously or a spirit from an abandoned graveyard beneath the fields, who on Halloween is joined on her visitation by other spirits from the graveyard.
A tree preservation order was placed on the trees in 2004, to enable preservation and maintenance, and in 2009 the Dark Hedges Preservation Trust was set up. A ban on traffic using the road (between its junctions with Ballinlea Road and Ballykenver Road) came into place on 30 October 2017. Specified exemptions to the ban include emergency and agricultural vehicles in particular circumstances. The site is included in a list of the 12 best road trips in Great Britain and Ireland.
According to the Internet