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Knowing ‘Hallerbos’, The Enchanted Blue Forest of Belgium

You’ve probably come across magical things only in storybooks and movies, what if they could be a real thing? Just like the poppy fields in the Wizard of Oz, one of Belgium’s forest has a rather unique case and is probably like nothing you’ve ever seen!

Hallerbos is a Belgian forest that is one of a kind. It is well-known for its springtime woodland floor, which is carpeted with lovely bluebell flowers. The forest is 1,360 acres in size and is located in the municipality of Halle, which is in Flemish Brabant with a tiny portion in Walloon Brabant. The woodland is a famous tourist destination that can be reached by public and private transportation.

History

Picture: Orange Smile

Hallerbos was once part of a large carboniferous woodland at the start of the Mesolithic era. Its size, however, has shrunk significantly over time. The Silva Carbonaria, Meerdaal, and Sonian Forests were all previously part of Hallerbos. It was connected to the Sonian Forest with the use of a woodland strip even in the latter part of 1777. Hallerbos was divided between the Duke and the Chapter of Arenberg in 1778, and during the survey, 24 boundary stones were discovered. After World War I, the German forces cut down most of the old trees, and the Belgian government took up Hallerbos from the Arenberg family as a wartime reparation.

Attraction

Picture: Orange Smile

Both local and foreign tourists frequent the Hallerbos Forest, which has a variety of cafés and restaurants nearby. The restaurant “‘t Kriekske” serves local food such as rabbit, mussels, steaks, and eel in green sauce. The Roebuck Walk, a difficult walk over four valleys, and the Bluebell Walk, which begins in Achtdreven on the middle plateau and travels through the entire bluebell area, are two more notable locations.

The overall area of the forest reserve is around 100 hectares. Rare flora including Bear’s Garlic, Spiked Rampion, Herb-Paris, and heather flourish there. There are also numerous flower kinds that attract butterflies such as the Rare Purple Emperor, White-letter Hairstreak, and Brown Hairstreak. Hallerbos now includes 10 ponds where fish may be found, and bats can be seen hunting in the water area on summer evenings. This location is also great for bird watching, as many water birds can be found surrounding ponds in the autumn.

The Secret

Picture: Earth Story

When the forest turns blue, it is obviously determined by the weather. When the weather is really nice, the bluebells bloom earlier than usual, and the flower carpet fades earlier than usual.

Warm weather will also hasten the emergence of leaves in the forest, reducing the amount of light available to bluebells and so reducing their flowering time.

The key to the mythical transformation of the “Blue Forest” – as with so many things – is timing. The soil must be warm enough for the blooms to thrive, but the beech’s leafy canopy cannot be fully leafed out since it will block the sun’s rays. That leaves only a week to ten days in which the conditions are ideal. This short season, which is entirely determined by the weather, is a fickle companion. It has recently begun to appear in April, despite the fact that the original meeting was usually planned for the beginning of May until five years ago. The “fairy flowers” are projected to bloom as early as the second part of March this year.

Picture: My Best Place

Because of the ever-changing blooming seasons, recognizing the violet splendor can be difficult. Travelers who have planned a trip to the country months in advance risk missing out if they book the incorrect weekend. However, because of its unpredictability, the Hallerbos has become somewhat of an off-the-beaten-path tourist destination. Not everyone is aware of the natural splendor blooming so close to the tiny nation’s capital, much alone remembers to check the Hallerbos’ website for updates on when the woodland will take on its fairytale guise.

Picture: Discovering Belgium

While roaming through the enchanted forest, visitors are required to follow a few simple rules: no picking of flowers is permitted, and venturing beyond the specified routes is strictly prohibited. And there might be fines imposed if rules are broken.

The gorgeous flower-filled Hallerbos forest is the ideal spot to unwind after a long week at work and reclaim your zen. Walk alone, with friends and family, or with your dog on a leash through the forest at your leisure. Enjoy the first days of spring by exploring Belgium’s gorgeous blue forest.

If you are planning a trip to see this beautiful enchanted blue forest, the best time to travel would be in April and May because that’s when the forests’ famous bluebells are in full bloom.

Sources: My Best Place, World Atlas, Check Out Sam, Culture Trip, Mental Floss

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