Chestnut Nature Park comprises of Chestnut Nature Park (South) and Chestnut Nature Park (North).
Chestnut Nature Park (North) occupies about 64 hectares and was only officially opened early this year, on 25 February 2017. Along with the southern portion that was opened last year, Chestnut Park is now the largest Singapore park, occupying a whopping 81 hectares of land.
After hearing about it from a friend about its opening, we figured it was high time we went back to our natural element again.
Chestnut Nature Park is located between Bukit Panjang Road and Dairy Farm Road, along the BKE expressway. Right by Upper Peirce Reservoir, the nature park is a little ecosystem of its own. It is most easily accessed by car, which we went with, though it is still reachable by public transport.
How to get to Chestnut Nature Park
There are several ways to get to Chestnut Nature Park:
By MRT –
Alight at Pending LRT (Bukit Panjang LRT Line). Walk towards Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre, and walk past Kim San Leng Coffee Shop. Head towards Blk 276 Bangkit Road, leading to Zhenghua Park. Take the tarmac track leading to Zhenghua underpass to get to Chestnut Nature Park.
By Bus –
Take bus 700 or 966 and alight at Block 202 along Petir Road. From the bus stop, it is approximately 30 minutes away if you choose to walk along Petir Road/Chestnut Ave into Chestnut Nature Park.
By Car –
Chestnut Nature Park’s car park is situated near the eastern end of Chestnut Avenue. If you’re coming from the northern regions like Bukit Panjang, drive along Petir Road and turn left at Chestnut Avenue. However, if you’re coming from the southern regions like Dairy Farm, drive along Petir Road and turn right at Chestnut Avenue. After turning, drive for about 1.5km along Chestnut Avenue and you will arrive at Chestnut Nature Park’s carpark on your left.
As part of the ongoing efforts to ramp up NParks’ biodiversity conservation activities, several native tree species have been planted at Chestnut Nature Park. At Chestnut Nature Park, adventurous park goers can also expect dedicated trails catered for different activities, such as hiking and mountain biking.
Armed with my Asus trail shoes, Lorna Jane attire and a bottle of mosquito repellent at 11am on a Sunday morning, we were ready to take on the muddy track!
There are available amenities and facilities such as the shelters, pavilions and information boards throughout the trail. A toilet and a bicycle rental kiosk is situated near the entrance of the trails, right by the carpark, so be sure to empty your bladder and fill your bottles before you hit the trails.
Things to do at Chestnut Nature Park
Southern Hiking Trail (Map)
The Southern Hiking Trail spans 2.1km and is dubbed the “hilly terrain” as you will often find big slabs of granite rocks and series of hills before being led to an open fields of wild Lalang.
Northern Hiking Trail (Map)
The Northern Hiking Trail spans 3.5km in total, and you can even get to Zhenghua Park from here. The trail is generally more forested and some parts of the trail are right next to a streams of water, making it a relaxing and soothing sight to see and sound to hear.
If you get tired from all the long hiking trails, you can look out for shelters and pavilions to sit down and relax before continuing your adventure again.
2. Mountain Biking
There is a pump track – a track that consists of slopes – for cyclists to hone their skills in manoeuvring through hilly terrains and bumps. “Pump” is the up and down body action of the riders as they ride up and down the terrain.
There are a total of 11 trails that you can choose from, each with their own difficulty level ranging from beginner to extremely difficult. Be sure to stick to a path that you’re comfortable with!
3. Bird Watching/ Animal hunting
If you’re a bird lover, Chestnut Nature Park is another park to add to your list! This park is home to a number of rare birds not commonly found in your neighbourhood, such as the Straw-headed Bulbul, Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, and Banded Woodpecker.
We spotted a family of wild monkeys during our hike. It was entertaining seeing the whole family – from baby monkeys clinging to their mother to the alpha male trying to mark his territory!
4. Tree Spotting
As mentioned earlier, Chestnut Nature Park is filled with many trees native to Singapore. These tree species include the Braided Chestnut, the Singapore Walking-Stick Palm and the Jelutong, just to name a few. Be ready to bask in the beauty of nature as you walk past these magnificent trees.
The wide diversity of trees gives rise to a greater ecosystem of animals and insects, and ensures that it is safe to travel along the park. Keep your ears open and listen to the sounds of nature as you walk through the park.
Tips before you go to Chestnut Nature Park
- The park is open from 7am to 7pm daily, so be sure to plan your day ahead.
- Bring a mosquito repellent! The trail is made up of dense flora and fauna, and most of the ground don’t get much sunlight.
- Wear proper trail shoes. The ground is moist for the most part, and puddles of water are interspersed between trails.
- Pets are also NOT ALLOWED in this park.
- Always remember to bring a poncho or an umbrella, in case the weather takes a twist for the worse. Also, do check the weather forecast in advance to avoid any potential weather shock. You never know how Singapore‘s weather can surprise you in ways more than one.
- Keep yourself hydrated at all times! Bring your water bottles along and drink up to avoid dehydration while having a good time.
- If you plan to cycle, ensure that you follow the correct cycling etiquettes and be in proper attire and wear the appropriate safety gears, if necessary.
Recommended duration at Chestnut Nature Park: 3-4 hours
Similar to my advice I gave about Coney Island, we love exploring these new parks when they are newly open. Not only can we skip the crowd, the area is not yet commercialised and the flora and fauna is not yet overly trampled on.
28 May 2017, Sunday