Classifieds 50% off, use promo code FBkpkPromo The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Belgium’s ‘fairytale’ bluebell forest victim of own beauty

BELGIUM: A carpet of bluebells bursts into flower in Belgium in a wonder of the natural world – but one that is at risk of being trampled by tourists drawn to its beauty.

environment, tourism,

Thursday 27 April 2017, 01:54PM


At the start of spring the tall beech trees are still bare enough to let enough sunlight reach the forest floor and allow the flowers to bloom. Photo: John Thys/AFP
At the start of spring the tall beech trees are still bare enough to let enough sunlight reach the forest floor and allow the flowers to bloom. Photo: John Thys/AFP

For two or three weeks in April the ground of the Hallerbos wood just outside the drab capital of Brussels is transformed into a breathtaking sea of shimmering purple.

“The scene is like in a fairytale, we’re still expecting a little elf or witch to appear from nowhere,” says Marie-Rose, who is walking through with her husband.

They are among tens of thousands of visitors from as far afield as India, Finland and Japan who flock each year to what had long been one of Belgium’s best kept secrets.

At the start of spring the tall beech trees are still bare enough to let enough sunlight reach the forest floor and allow the flowers to bloom.

Huge swathes of the 1,370-acre woodland are covered in millions of the delicate purple flowers for as far as the eye can see.

“This place is unique, the only one like it in Europe, in the world I think,” says Adrien, who is taking 360 degree photos of the forest.

Bluebells have been growing in Hallerbos for centuries, experts say. The forest was largely cut down by the invading German army during World War II but replanted afterwards with beech trees and a few Californian sequoias, and the fresh cover has allowed them to really flourish.

But its growing popularity in recent years comes at a cost.

At the weekends, the sheer numbers coming to visit the forest have forced Belgian authorities to set up special parking lots and shuttle buses, with visitors finding themselves among school parties, groups of tourists and photographers lugging their equipment.

More importantly they set up signs asking visitors to keep off the carpet of flowers and stick to the pathways, with especially vulnerable areas being taped off.

“When there’s too much trampling the bluebells disappear and it takes dozens if not hundreds of years for them to grow again,” says Bruno Verhelpen, a guide who organises nature walks at Hallerbos.

“The interest in this forest is only going to grow. There are photographers, naturalists, members of the public. So we have had to take measures to limit traffic.”

In the next two weeks as the flowers are in full bloom the forest paths will be so busy they will be “like a commercial street in central Brussels”.

One of the biggest risks is from people taking selfies in the woods, says Pierre Kestemont, a forest ranger who runs the www.hallerbos.be website.

“A few years ago you’d get a few people taking pictures in the middle of the flowers, sometimes in strange outfits, but it was nothing serious. But now everyone has a smartphone and has turned into a photographer,” says Kestemont, who spends up to 12 hours a day cycling around making sure people keep to the paths.

“At the end of each day I can see where they have been walking. You can destroy in a week what nature has taken centuries to create.”

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
CAPTCHA
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Toilet mishap leaves Phuket student hospitalised

Kurt...LOL. Good lord, signs? how about a sign to be careful on tiles when walking? or watch door...it is closed. ...(Read More)


Phuket truck owner donates B20k towards Sophie Anderson’s funeral

Paully44...how on earth can I be "grossly over analyzing" your comments. At least if you are going to say something make sure it's right...(Read More)


Phuket top-brass police transferred, face corruption probe

Finally, a beginning of the police corruption cleaning up on Phuket. Do not forget Chalong Police station! That is a pirate nest! With all the bars,...(Read More)


Phuket top-brass police transferred, face corruption probe

"to prevent any damage to the government" The entire country of Thailand and most of planet earth already know Thailand is corrupt to the...(Read More)


Areas in Phuket Town to have water shut off tomorrow

Eagle; listen what both Rorii & Kurt are saying if they are going to preplan a power cut off just tell the community so they can make alternative ...(Read More)


Phuket taxi, tuk-tuk drivers rally against Patong parking crackdown

Kurt,you wrote you have been in Nanai-Road a long long time ago.Maybe you should take a look now.And looking at Patong from above?How about privacy?An...(Read More)


Phuket Town nightclub damaged in daytime fire

Tourists have to realize that clubs on Phuket are dangerous in framework of electric security thinking. Electric works are not like you expect it to ...(Read More)


Areas in Phuket Town to have water shut off tomorrow

Rorii,no guessing here.I did my research.Now i could give you a hint,but i prefer to keep you in the dark.And if someone is so bedridden that he can n...(Read More)


Phuket rain sends car ‘aquaplaning’ into tree

WOW,, Of course speed had nothing to do with it !!!! ...(Read More)


Phuket man dies in big bike accident

Capt.Jack.FYI a Mazda3 can come as a sedan or as a hatchback model....(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.