The Halle wood – When to visit and how to get there

May 7, 2011 / one comment

UPDATE: Upon request from the local police, I have updated the description of the way to the Halle wood. See below.

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.

Year Best time
to visit
My pictures
2009 April 15

May 15
My Halle wood pictures from 2009
2010 April 24

May 15
My Halle wood pictures from 2010
2011 April 9

May 1
My Halle wood pictures from 2011

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.

Show Hallerbos on a larger map

Spring 2011 in the Halle wood

April 27, 2011 / no comments

Spring is in full swing now and this is also the best time to visit the Halle wood. This year, March and April have been warm and dry months here in Belgium and I have the feeling that flowering of the bluebells (and other flowers) as well as appearance of leaves on trees has taken place earlier than usual.
The following pictures are the results my four visits to the Halle wood over the course of three weeks in April. Landscape photography can be demanding sometimes ! Even if I like my latest pictures, I still think that some of my best ones so far had been taken last year .
The first series of images has been taken on April, 9. As you can see, it was still early spring and leaves were barely appearing on the trees.

April 9, 2011 in the Halle woodApril 9, 2011 in the Halle woodApril 9, 2011 in the Halle wood

The next series has been taken on April, 16 and this was probably around the peak of the flowering.

April 16, 2011 in the Halle woodApril 16, 2011 in the Halle woodApril 16, 2011 in the Halle woodApril 16, 2011 in the Halle wood

Two days later, I went back in the evening hoping for low light on the flowers but, unfortunately, the leaves now fully out were blocking most of the light.

April 18, 2011 in the Halle woodApril 18, 2011 in the Halle woodApril 18, 2011 in the Halle woodApril 18, 2011 in the Halle wood

My last visit was on April, 22. As you can see, colours were already less intense. This was probably due to the combination of the tree leaves cover and the aging of the bluebells.

April 22, 2011 in the Halle wood

Last visit to the Halle wood

May 5, 2010 / one comment

I could not resist. I had to make another short visit to the Halle wood last week-end. This time, the flowers were at their peak. Unfortunately, the weather was not… The light was far from good and the colours are rather flat. But here are my two favorite pictures of the day.

Bluebells in the Halle woodBluebells in the Halle wood

Sunrise in Perk & Halle wood

April 25, 2010 / no comments

This saturday, I woke up early (5:30 AM !) to try and capture in a picture what I see almost every day on my way to work. Even if it is not pure nature, the view is usually worth looking at. The sunrise yesterday was not as beautiful as some of the ones that I have already witnessed when cruising on the highway but it was still a nice one. Even if it seems to be a picture of a quiet spring sunrise in the flat countryside north-east of Brussels, I was only a few meters off the highway and planes leaving Brussels airport every few seconds were adding to this to make it one of the noisiest place I know…

Later in the afternoon, I went back to the Halle wood (see my previous post) where the bluebells were now almost in full bloom (they will probably be at their peak within a week). As you can see, I was in a panoramic “mood” 🙂
I do not know why but this place seems to attract a lot of Japanese tourists !

The sea of bluebells again !

Spring is back !

April 10, 2010 / no comments

Spring is back !
Here is my first flower picture of the year, taken a week ago at the castle of La Hulpe as those who have been there might recognize in the next picture 😉

A sea of daffodils at the castle of La HulpeReflection of the roof of the castle of La Hulpe in a temporary pool

This afternoon, on my way back from a nice flower show in Enghien, I stopped in the Halle Wood, a spot well known in Belgium for its impressive “sea” of bluebells. Unfortunately, I was probably a week or two too early. Here is how it looked like today. Only wood anemones were visible. Almost no bluebells yet.

The Halle wood just before its famous sea of bluebells is in bloom
The Halle wood just before its famous sea of bluebells is in bloom

But here is how it looked like last year (one week later). Much better ! I hope I will be able to return there with good lighting conditions when the flowers will be at their peak.

The famous sea of bluebells in the Halle wood, April 2009
The famous sea of bluebells in the Halle wood, April 2009The famous sea of bluebells in the Halle wood, April 2009The famous sea of bluebells in the Halle wood, April 2009The famous sea of bluebells in the Halle wood, April 2009