The Halle wood (Hallerbos) is a very popular place to visit if you like enjoying natural beauty (and perfume) in Belgium. It is really worth a visit during the flowering of the sea of bluebells that is the main characteristic of this wood.
When to visit
To help you time your visit to the Halle wood as best as possible, here is a table with statistics of the bluebells peak flowering period. They are based on my own visits during the last three years.
Of course, if you plan to photograph them, many other parameters will be important, such as how early or late in the day, the absence/presence of clouds, the presence of people where you would rather not see them,…
If you plan your visit to coincide with the beginning of the flowering period, you can be quite sure that the trees will still be clean of any leaves. This means that the bluebells will be bathing in beautiful light, especially at the end of the afternoon. If you visit at the end of the flowering period, the trees will be full of leaves and the flowers will be mostly in shadows, with some areas still in the sunlight only around noon. In any case, do not forget to bring your tripod to get good pictures in these relatively low light conditions.
How to get there
Although the Halle wood is located very close to the E19 highway (Brussels-Paris), getting there is not that easy as there are only very few signs giving directions to reach it.
The best way to avoid trouble by getting stuck in very narrow roads is to access it by following the description found here. From the parking area P8 “Acht dreven”, it will take you 10-15 min walking to reach the site where the highest density of flowers is situated, close to parking area P10 (which is now very difficult to reach by car). You can find a good detailed map of the wood here. You will want to reach the western part of the wood, on both sides of the “Dreef van Eigenbrakel”. This is usually where most of the flowers are located.
Although the wood is quite big, the most beautiful part, where most flowers are located, is relatively small and one or two hours is more than enough to enjoy a walk in magnificent surroundings. If however you plan on some serious photography, you could easily spend half a day exploring the numerous possible viewpoints along the paths. You will also have plenty of opportunities to create some unique images, like I did with my own interpretation of the sea of bluebells.
Please be very careful not to walk into the flowers themselves. And of course, do not pick any !
As always, take only pictures, leave only footprints.