The light, transparent beech leaves give a frail green light in the wood. The bluebells have withered and are forming fruit. Spiked rampion, yellow pimpernel, ramsons, sweetscented bedstraw en false lily of the valley are some spring flowers that are flowering. On the banks of the ponds, yellow flag is flowering. The first galls can be found on some trees, as on the upper side of the leaf of the lime: the red horn-shaped galls, ‘nail galls’ of the mite Eriophyes tiliae. Small red knots of the mite Aceria cephalonea on the upper side of the leaves of the sycamore; and on the underside of the leaves the spherical galls of the gallwasp Pediaspis aceris.
In the forest edges and on sunny places flowering bluebells can still be found. But in the wood, where the beeches are almost fully in leaf by now, the bluebells have withered and form fruit. Meanwhile spiked rampion has come into bloom, it is a beautiful, graceful spring flower that blooms in the second half of spring. The flowers of bear’s garlic form a beautiful white carpet on the moist, calcerous slopes.
Young beech leaves fill the canopy above the bluebells, so the sunlight can barely reach the flowers. The bluebells are withering and starting to form fruit. Squirrels feast on beechnuts and seeds from the pine trees. Bear’s garlic is flowering abundantly. On open spaces, butterflies flutter around looking for nectar. Birds fly on and off with food for their youngs. Little by little, calm descends again in the wood.
More and more young beech leaves fill the wood by the day. That makes it harder to observe the birds. The sunlight will be able to reach the bluebells for only a few days more. After the weekend, the fairy-tale time will be over. The bluebells that have been flowering for some weeks, start to wither. Bumblebees pollinate the flowering bluebells. There were a lot of beechnuts last autumn, this is clear from the many young seedlings, and also from the many mice tripping through the wood. And these in turn make sure that a lot of owlets can be fed by the tawny owls.
Parking 2, 3 and 8 can be reached by car again this weekend.
After Sunday’s summery temperatures, the high beeches have started to come into leaves. That means that the end of the magical time is in sight. There are more leaves every day and so there is less sunlight on the flowers. Until the end of the week, and with some luck also at the weekend, it will stay beautiful. If you visit the wood: please stay on the official paths to take pictures and do not make the damage, caused by previous visitors, even bigger. There are now innumerable bare patches and empty spaces where flowers have been trampled. So much beauty that has been destroyed forever. Incomprehensible. There is clearly something lacking in the manual for smartphones and other digital cameras, a line about taking pictures in nature: Do not destroy nature.
Deep purple-blue and transparent fresh green are the two colours that fill the wood. Under the high beeches that have not come into leaves yet, bluebells delight in the sunlight. A brambling waits for hotter weather to migrate to the North. He clearly indulged in beechnuts this winter. The finches are going to stay a bit longer. If you prefer to enjoy spring in the wood in a quiet way, come on weekdays. It will probably be busy in the wood on Sunday with the forecasted summery temperatures. This is the last weekend of the free shuttle bus. Click for more information. Enjoy all this beauty from the official paths please. Do not leave them at all, not even for ‘only a few steps’ when taking pictures. This is how you help protect the wood.
It seems that not all bluebells are equally beautiful or important. Some visitors find the bluebells they step on and that thereby perish, to take a picture, are of little importance. “It’s only for a picture.” Completely flattened places and innumerable new ‘little paths’ through the flowers are traces left after the passage of smart phone users and other photographers. The picture stays on Instagram forever. The barren spaces caused by making the picture, stay forever in the wood.
How to destroy wonderful and protected nature in the blink of eye? To be seen in the Hallerbos.
The wood is at its most beautiful now. Abundantly blooming bluebells colour the wood purple-blue and fill the air with fragrance. The seedlings of beeches now have their recognisable beech leaves. In the edges of the paths, wood speedwell, yellow pimpernel, common dog violet, pendulous sedge, Solomon’s seal and yellow archangel are blooming. The high beeches are not coming into leaf yet, due to the low temperatures, so the bluebells are still in direct sunlight.
In order not to damage the wood: please stay on the official paths, also when taking pictures.
Many flowering spring flowers can be found: a few wood anemones, lesser celandine, yellow archangel, greater stitchwort, lords-and-ladies, garlic mustard, herb-paris, bear’s garlic, wood-sorrel, Solomon’s seal, common dog violet. The wild bluebells and the young fresh green beech leaves that seem to float in the wood, create this fairy-tale like atmosphere, nature at its most beautiful. High beeches are still not coming into leaf, due to the continuing lower temperatures. For sure until 1 May every sunny day is a day to take pleasure in the enchanting wood.
Less good news is that some visitors find it necessary to leave the official paths (which are over 40 km long!) to take a picture and thereby step on flowers and young seedlings of trees and make the soil denser, harder. All of these will become bare patches where bluebells have disappeared forever.
How stupid and disrespectful to this magically beautiful but fragile nature that people from all continents come to admire.
A sunny day, wonderful to surrender to the colours and the smells of the fairy-tale forest. The sea of bluebells is deep purple-blue in most parts of the wood now. Solomon’s seal is flowering. The city of Halle is doing an extra effort for the visitors and provides a second free shuttle bus on Saturday 22 April from 12 to 18.30 and on Sunday 23 and 30 April and Monday 1 May between 15 and 18.30. On Saturday there is the yearly ‘bluebell jogging’. If you want to enjoy the forest quietly, come on another day. For sure until the end of the month, every sunny day is fine to experience the magical spring in the wood. But stay on the official paths please. The bluebells’ leaves are making new flower bulbs right now. Wherever you step on them, there will be no new flower bulb and as a consequence there will be no new plant next year! If you step on forest soil where there aren’t any flowers, this soil gets more dense, and the seeds of the bluebells will not be able to sprout there as the tiny root that comes from this seed in September will not get through the hard soil. So you don ‘t give the new plants a chance.