Bluebell flowers carpet the Hallerbos forest floor, Flanders, Belgium
© Jason Langley/plainpictur
A glimpse of the 'Blue Forest'
What colour do you normally associate with a forest? Well, in the Hallerbos forest of Belgium, that would be blue, for reasons you can clearly see here. For about 10 days every year, usually in late April or early May, this very old forest floor is transformed as bluebell hyacinths wake up from their winter slumber and carpet the forest floor in blue.
Even though it's a bit early for the fleeting blooms, today would be a good day to visit the 'Blue Forest,' for this is the day that the United Nations recognises the International Day of Forests. The theme of this year's observance is reforestation, another thing that Hallerbos is known for. Large swaths of the ancient forest were destroyed by occupying forces during World War I, which prompted the Belgian government to roll out an extensive reforestation project starting in the 1930s. Within 20 years, Hallerbos was well on its way to being a healthy forest again, as the depleted native beech and oak trees were restocked.