Flowering season 2019
info: in the northwestern part of the forest, called ‘Kapittel’ and ‘Kluisberg’, trees have been felled this year (wood extraction). Trunks and crowns are lying in various places in that part of the forest and there are piles of firewood along the trails. From 1 March to 30 June however, the wood extraction stops (“schoon” time) and the loggers are not allowed to continue their work. “Schoon” time comes from the German “Schonen” meaning ‘save’, ‘protect’. The “schoon” period helps to protect the vegetation (spring flowers), to ‘save’ and not to disturb the nesting birds.
Permission for commercial or professional photo shoots, with or without models, or film recordings must be requested via the box office. In the Hallerbos you must always stay on the paths, also when taking pictures and filming. The soil and vegetation are fragile and very sensitive to trampling.
The use of drones is not allowed in the forest.
The wood colours completely green. A frail magical fresh-green light filters through an uncountable number of young beech leaves. The bluebells are withering. Only the ones on the few places where there still is enough sunlight have their purple-blue colour. But there is less light each day in the wood and the bluebells are less noticeable. In the moist, calcareous valleys wild garlic is flowering. Great horsetail arises from the shallow water of source streams. Solomon’s seal, yellow archangel and sweetscented bedstraw are flowering. The nuthatch couple has young, caterpillars are being delivered and faecal sacks are removed. Wood mice are active, and by twilight when it is more quiet in the wood, the roe deer can feel at home again in the wood. The wonderful flowering period of bluebells is over and has passed very quickly this year.
The young beech leaves make it harder and harder for the sunlight to reach the bluebells. Lots of flowers have been pollinated and start withering, their deep purple blue colour getting paler. Meanwhile, bear’s garlic is blooming in the moist, calcareous valleys. Yellow archangel, Solomon’s seal and greater stitchworth are blooming in the edges of the paths that get a lot of light. Unfortunately, the traces of respectless photographers and smartphone users are visible, leaving a trail of destruction in the form of new paths and open spaces where completely trampled bluebells disfiguring the fragile forest. This is destruction of a natural environment protected by the European Union.
Saturday afternoon 27 April there is the yearly ‘bluebell jogging’, 1200 participants are expected. If you want to walk in peace and quiet, it is better to choose another moment.
The summer temperatures wake the trees from their hibernation. There is no stopping the beeches any longer. Yesterday only a handful of high trees were coming into leaf, today there are countless others as well. It is going very quickly now. Fortunately, the warmth helps the bluebells as well. The valleys and the flanks are fairy-tale-ish. The forest is wonderfully beautiful. A sea of fragile purple-blue bells and its fragrance, fill the forest. The shadows of the beech’ stems throw endless stripes over the bluebells. The coming days the beech canopy will get filled with pale green translucent leaves over the flowers. Nothing as peaceful as walking in a forest with fragile, soft spring colours. Another week or less to enjoy the game of light and shadow, and to walk in a living stained glass window. Once the sun can not reach the flowers any more, they will colour pale blue-grey instead of purple-blue.
Wood anemones have been pollinated and start withering. On the sunny edges of the paths, Lords-and-ladies and garlic mustard are blooming. Nothing is as peaceful as walking in a purple-blue fairytale-like wood under fresh green translucent young beech leaves. This is a spring experience not to be missed. The plateaus, where the sun can spread her warmth the whole day, are colouring deep purple-blue. The bluebells’ flower stalks are growing, thereby carrying the flowers higher than their green leaves, hiding the green carpet. The cooler valleys and flanks are gradually getting the irresistible spring colours, but a lot of bluebells are still in their buds, it is going to be a race against the time for bluebells that have to start flowering yet. The warm spring sun is tempting the beech leaves to get out of their buds, a few high beeches are already coming into leaf. As long as not all beech leaves are starting to grow, all will be fine for the bluebells as the sun can then spoil them and the bumblebees can pollinate them. A bluebell’s leaves are now making a new bulb for the coming year. So do not destroy them by stepping on them to take a picture. Getting off the track, standing on the forest floor, makes the forest floor more dense, too dense for the tiny roots, that come out of a bluebell’s seed in autumn, to pierce through the soil. Meaning: no new bluebells. Please take your pictures staying on the paths. The next 8 to 10 days will be of an intense beauty in the forest.
What a splendid day to walk in the quiet wood. The wood anemones enjoy the spring sun. Places that get the warmth of the sun the whole day, are gradually turning an intense blue-purple. In the valleys, that get less hours of sun, the bluebells start flowering more slowly. The beautiful weather forecasted for the second half of the week, will see the slopes turn into a wonderful blooming sea of bluebells and a living fairy tale wood. Time to grab your walking shoes. Choose a sunny day and come on a week day as it is more quiet then. Information on the free shuttle bus at weekends: click here. The next fourteen days will be good to enjoy the spring in the forest. The only thing that the forest wants in return is not to be trampled. So please do stay on the tracks, also to take pictures.
Wood anemones are real sunbathers. They never lose sight of the sun, not for a minute. There is an increasing number of bluebells every day, colouring the wood blue-purple, even if most of them still have to start blooming. Countless flower buds are waiting for more spring warmth. If you can visit the wood only once, it is better to wait a while, as the wood is going to get more blue-purple. Some advice when visiting the forest: check the weather report, choose a sunny day, wear walking shoes, bring a bottle of water and a snack, as the fairy-tale wood will tempt you to stay longer than you planned. Ask for a walking map or take a picture of this map at an information board so as to find your way back and try to come on weekdays when it is more quiet. Do you love the forest? Then protect it, stay on the official tracks also to take pictures, do not throw away rubbish. This way you do not leave any trace and anybody coming after you can also enjoy this wonderful nature.