Each year, from mid-April into May, the Hallerbos Woods, in Flemish Brabant, Belgium transforms into a breath-taking carpet of tens of thousands of bluebells. The flowers are slowly getting in full bloom. The city of Halle expects to receive another thousands of visitors from far and wide.
The Hallerbos Woods is a 542 hectares of woodland, situated at about twenty kilometres from Brussels. It is famous for its yearly recurring natural spectacle of bluebells overtaking the floor of the forest. Hence, the name ‘blue forest’.
The purple blue of the bluebells and the bright green of the young beech leaves stretch as far as the eye can see. This phenomenon is not uncommon in Belgian forests. It also occurs in small forests in South West Flanders and the Flemish Ardennes. But the Hallerbos is unique for the density and beauty of its blooms. A miracle really, since the Germans almost completely destroyed the forest during the Great War.
Unfortunately, there’s also a downside to its popularity. Some visitors cannot resist the temptation to veer off the trails for the perfect selfie or photograph. Usually, the flowers are trampled down and thus destroyed as well. So, this year volunteers will keep an eye.
For those who want to see and smell this fantastic sea of flowers, the best thing you can do, is to go early in the morning. Multilingual hiking maps are available at the tourist office of Halle. But there’s also a downloadable map on the website of the Hallerbos.
Parking is only possible at the Hogebermweg. But during the weekends a free shuttle will take visitors from the station to the Hallerbos between 09.00 am and 20.00 pm.
Photos & video: courtesy Hallerbos.com