The Dark Hedges

Posted by Tamsin Wilde on

This is the Dark Hedges, located in Northern Ireland, but is now better known as the King's Road thanks to Game of Thrones. The history of these trees can be traced back to 1775 when a chap called James Stuart built himself a house named Gracehill, which he named after his wife, Grace Lynd (looks like someone was after some brownie points!) and in true 18th century style decided to plant over 150 Beech trees lining the road leading to it purely to impress visitors, of which around 90 are still standing. Now over 200 years old, the Dark Hedges are the result of twisting branches forming an impressive canopy resulting in the atmospheric tunnel we see today. The Georgian mansion still exists today, but is a private estate and part of the grounds now make up an 18 hole golf course. Of course, with all places like this, there's a ghost story. Legend states that they are visited by a ghost called the Grey Lady who is seen at dusk traveling the road, going between the ancient trees before disappearing as she passes the last tree. 


Some stories state the apparition is that of James Stuart's daughter, known as Cross Peggy, others that it is the spirit of one of the house maids who died under mysterious circumstances. Some reported sightings have stated the Grey Lady leaves a lingering scent of Bergamot, or reported just witnessing this scent alone, which has enhanced the speculation she either lived or worked at Gracehill due to Orangeries being very fashionable in large estates at the time. 

Other tales state it is a spirit from a nearby abandoned graveyard hidden beneath the surrounding fields. It is said that on Halloween night these forgotten graves open and the tormented souls trapped within join the Grey Lady on her walk. 


Back in 2014, local photographer Gordon Watson took what is believed to be the only known photograph of the the Grey Lady, with a local photographer Kevin McAuley stating after examining the photo that his hadn't been digitally enhanced or altered... That photo can be found with a quick Google search but I'll let you make your own mind up on that one. 


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