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Take a Hike: How to hike the Pinewood Battery Heritage Trail

By David Yeung 8 October 2020

Header images courtesy of @anthonyzsyko (via Instagram) and @minghong (via Wikimedia Commons)

Pinewood Battery is a perfect mini escape during the weekend as it is conveniently located on Hong Kong Island. This hike is not as hard as other hikes in Hong Kong, as the main attraction reminds people of Hong Kong’s part during World War II, which makes it a very insightful and informative hike. The Pinewood Battery heritage trail is the perfect afternoon activity to do with your family, friends, and loved ones.

With construction completed in 1905, the Pinewood Battery is a military fortification used by the British forces during the colonial days of Hong Kong. Standing at approximately 300 metres, the Battery was one of Hong Kong’s highest coast defence fortifications. It was initially used to strengthen the defence of the western harbour of Hong Kong Island but was later transformed into an anti-aircraft battery. It was a significant entrenchment element during the Battle of Hong Kong during the Second World War, as it was a key defence structure to fend off Japanese forces. Today, the Battery is in disuse, but intrepid travellers can still visit its granite and concrete structures after a short and manageable hike.

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Photo credit: @minghong (via Wikimedia Commons)

Overview & fast facts

The Pinewood Battery Heritage Trail is situated within the Lung Fu Shan Country Park, which is around the Central & Western District of Hong Kong Island. The fortifications were built during the beginning of the twentieth century by the British military as a countermeasure, in case any threats were to attack Hong Kong. However, in 1913, due to little activity, the Battery was decommissioned, only to be brought back to life as an anti-aircraft battery prior to the Imperial Japanese invasion in the Second World War.

The Pinewood Battery suffered heavy damage and casualties from the Japanese occupation during the Battle of Hong Kong. By 15 December 1941, British and Indian forces had to abandon their posts due to the intense waves of attacks from the invading troops. Eventually, on 25 December, the British surrendered, thus formally handing Hong Kong to Japanese control.

Today, the Pinewood Battery serves as a good reminder of the past and the burdens people face during a time of conflict and despair. Most batteries in Hong Kong are now ruins, left in a state of disrepair, with greenery surrounding every single place. However, the gun battery, various magazines, and the observational post are still kept in good shape from time to time.

There can be many ways to the Pinewood Battery, as it is located on The Peak. However, the best way to soak in the view and learn more about the history of Hong Kong is by taking the Peak Tram, then walking the rest of your way once you reach the top of the Peak. This is the perfect hike when you have limited time to fit in some exercise or would like to go on a short, nature-driven excursion.

Distance: 2.3 kilometres approx.

Difficulty: Beginner

Total time: 20 to 40 minutes approx.

How to get there

As stated earlier there are many ways in reaching the final destination for this hike. You can either start the hike from Victoria Peak or in Kennedy Town via Pok Fu Lam Road. However, we recommend starting the hike from Victoria Park as it is the most convenient way to start the hike.

From Central:
  1. Take a taxi, bus 15 from the Central Ferry Piers, or minibus 1 from IFC Mall.
  2. Alternatively, you may also take the Peak Tram for scenic views all the way up.
  3. After arriving at the Peak, make your way to Harlech Road.

Keep scrolling for the rest of the list 👇

The hike

The Pinewood Battery trail is, thankfully, is an easy and relaxing hike that features some stunning urban city views from above whilst also offering a lot of natural greenery. The hike is relatively short and you cover just over two kilometres, so it’s a perfect mid-day hike to tackle for a spot of exercise. With that being in mind, there are endless other trails that you should consider doing once you’ve arrived at the Pinewood Battery. The hike begins on Harlech Road, which is close to the Peak Lookout on Victoria Peak.

The beginning of Harlech Road is mostly shaded with tall trees, and the road is mostly paved, giving you comfortability while walking. One indicator to know that you are on the right track is that you should pass by a waterfall called Lugard Waterfall. Harlech Road is part of a loop called the Peak Circle Walk, which is a very popular circuit for runners and joggers around Victoria Peak.

Walk down Harlech Road for approximately one kilometre and you will find yourself next to a gazebo. When you find yourself by the gazebo, there will be an intersection that splits into three streets Harlech Road, Lugard Road, and Hatton Road. Stay on Harlech Road as it will naturally converge onto Hatton Road (Lung Fu Shan Fitness Trail). The fitness trail is also paved with ample amount of shade from the bushes and trees that surround the trail.

At this point in time, you should be on Lung Fu Shan Fitness Trail, there should be signs along the way to keep you on track to the right direction. The path is very peaceful, with many secluded areas to make you feel at rest and at peace. When you approach a picnic area on the path, you will have made it to the Pinewood Battery! This is because the Battery is located conveniently within and behind the Lu Fu Shan Fitness Trail Picnic Area. Once you arrive, it’s hard to not feel moved by the historical presence of these structures. The Pinewood Battery reminds the public of bygone wars and human conflicts, giving it a more emotional connection with people visiting this ruin.

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David Yeung

Contributor

Born and raised in Hong Kong, David is a recent high school graduate embarking on a gap year. He was always interested in writing and sharing stories that tend to be unnoticed. When he is not in the office typing away, you may find him taking photographs, running around the city, hiking, swimming in the ocean, or just chilling with a nice book at bay.

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