How to get to The Dark Hedges

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I check the stats for my blog every now and then, and when I do, I invariably find that certain posts are more popular than others when it comes to search terms. A post about a famous stretch of road in Northern Ireland from September 10, 2009 which I titled Dark Hedges is one such post. Other than three of my posts which were “freshly pressed” on the front page of WordPress.com generating views in the thousands, this has been my most viewed blog post. There isn’t a day that goes by where it hasn’t received at least a handful of views, and since I figured people must be looking for information on how to get there for themselves, why not share the location.

If this were a fragile ecosystem where sharing the specific location and encouraging additional foot traffic might endanger the local environment, I might be more reluctant to share specifics, but since it is a public road that just happens to be pretty remarkable, I don’t see any harm in helping others see it for themselves. This is a unique stretch of the Bregagh Road near Armoy in County Antrim that has been re-named locally as The Dark Hedges. As you can see, over the past 300 years or so, the Beech trees guarding the lane have reached up and across to each other, becoming heavily intertwined to create an impressive sight. I have only visited this place one time, and on that occasion the light and atmosphere were not especially dramatic. For those of you planning on photographing this scene for yourselves… here’s hoping that the conditions come together perfectly for you, and that you come away with a special image that you are proud of :)

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… turn the bend and prepare to say “Wow”.

If interested in purchasing prints from this location, visit my online gallery at: http://www.acadiaandbeyond.com

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36 thoughts on “How to get to The Dark Hedges

    • David Patterson

      It definitely is an unusual landscape… one that has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. Fun to photograph all the same.

    • David Patterson

      There is definitely quite a lot of detail in these scenes… it is very cool to be there in person and enjoy walking along the road.

  1. Vicki Phillips (Kish)

    Hi David,
    My husband and I are going to Ireland in April. We are staying one night in Belfast and would like to see the Dark Hedges. I am hoping you can give me an approximate number in miles and kilometers of the distance from Belfast to the Dark Hedges.
    Thank you.

  2. avi gold

    Thank you so much, finally directions! My husband and I have stumbled around trying to find it with no success. I WILL find it this year!

  3. Lisa

    Amazing depth and textures in these painterly photos. Another big thank you for the directions- you are so kind to have posted them. Hopefully we will travel this road in May. If anyone else reads this and is able to get the co-ordinates from their GPS, that would be additionally helpful.

  4. Andrea

    My niece and I were in Ireland in September of ’09 and we probably drove within a few miles of this road and completely missed it! I wasn’t even aware of its existence until I ran across it recently while doing some Google searches for a return trip next Spring. This will definitely make our “must see” list. I love amazing landscapes and this definitely qualifies – it’s absolutely stunning! Thanks for the beautiful photo and the directions!

    • David Patterson

      Andrea… you are very welcome. Things have changed there recently with a new fence having been erected. I have yet to see its impact, but I hear it doesn’t exactly add to the beauty of the scene. Good luck this spring and have a great trip!

  5. Lisa

    Oh, yes- Thanks, Differance!!! Glad I am following these posts- I am thrilled with being able to take the virtual drive. For conveniance, I shortened the long link to just: http://tinyurl.com/776j874

    But I did see the GPS coordinates within your long link, and that is what I really wanted for our trip next month! I am extremly happy to have this, as with this (and a GPS unit) in hand I am more likely to convince my husband to detour there on our way from the Antrim Coast to Carrick-a-Rede and Giant’s Causeway. You had the Latitude and Longitude in decimal format:
    55.133857,-6.379769
    But if anyone reading this prefers the WGS84 way of expressing it, it is:
    N 55° 08.076 W 006° 22.850
    Another format is the UTM format: 29U E 667091 N 6112752

    If anyone is a geocacher, I found there are 2 geocaches there per geocaching.com: GC2FFW6 mentions a good pull-out space to park (or to turn the car around):
    N 55° 07.295, W 006° 22.658 and also notes some trees fell over in January’s high winds. Notes the the second cache GC38KYO mention that the fence is barbed wire, and indicates the trees are numbered (similar to: tree 0511.) There are recent pictures showing the wooden fence posts are spaced about every 4 feet, and the fence appears in some photos to be non-obtrusive wire, whereas in other photos I am seeing some bright green that might not be so see-through (no one is trying to get the fence in the photo on purpose, so I see only the side view of the fence.)

    David–Thank you for letting me add this to your great blog. Hopefully it helps others. I can’t wait to go and take my own photos!

    • David Patterson

      Lisa… great information, and I’m more than happy to help others find their way to this place by sharing on the blog. I’m hoping that the new fence isn’t too obtrusive, and I also hope that you have a great visit :)

  6. Colleen

    David,
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing place! My mother and I will be in Bushmills in mid September and we will definately be going to find this spot. Photos of this will surely enhance all the other beautiful shots of Ireland!
    Sláinte!

    • David Patterson

      Colleen,

      You are very welcome. I hope that you find and enjoy this special place when you visit the area. If you’re going to be in Bushmills, don’t forget to stop by the distillery ;)

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