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East Belgium’s famous daffodils finally bloom
Arriving just in time for several days of sunshine and warm weather, hundreds of thousands of daffodils in the High Fens nature reserve in East Belgium are beginning to bloom.
The Holzwarche valley in the province of Liège is a popular hiking spot linking the municipalities of Bullange and Rocherath. Walkers are currently following its trail to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking sight that traditionally heralds spring.
“This is their most westerly habitat: they need an acidic soil like we have here. In limestone soil, there are not many daffodils,” explained Alexander Rauw, a guide for nature association Natagora, which manages the nature reserve.
“With the return of spring, the High Ardennes are coloured in gold. Thousands of daffodils brighten up the sides of the valleys,” Natagora announced.
While a recent cold spell and snow have delayed the complete opening of the flowers, they were still warmly welcomed at the festival that honours their beauty on Sunday.
People descended on the site from all over Belgium to see the flowers forming a thick carpet in the valley.
“I come from Flanders, and this is my first time visiting. I came after I saw it on the website. At home, we don't have this landscape, it's very beautiful,” one visitor from near Aachen told RTBF.
“We come every year at the same time to see the daffodils. What we like is the colour, the yellow, the beginning of spring. We discovered this in our local newspaper and we thought it was a good opportunity to go for a walk around Rocherath to see the daffodils.”
In the 80-hectare nature reserve, visitors can also find kingfishers, black storks and rare butterflies, as well as wild orchids and Alpine fennel.
The area consists of wet meadows and swamps and is home to a multitude of characteristic plants: rushes, sedges, alpine fennel, meadowsweet and heather; but the daffodils, whose yellow warms the landscape, are the main draw in spring.
Ramblers hoping to enjoy the flowering valley should aim for a hike early in the week – after a couple of warm and sunny days, Wednesday will start to cool down and bring the return of Belgium's usual rainy and cloudy weather.