TAI TAM WATERWORKS HERITAGE TRAIL (5km)
During 2009 the Hong Kong Antiques Authority on the recommendation of the Antiques Advisory Board declared some 41 historic waterworks structures as monuments under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance to ensure their important heritage is protected and preserved. 21 of these monuments are contained within Tai Tam Group of Reservoirs and in September 2009 the 5km Tai Tam Waterworks Heritage Trail set in the scenic and tranquil surroundings of Tai Tam Country Park was opened. The Tai Tam Group of Reservoirs comprises Tai Tam Upper Reservoir, Tai Tam Byewash Reservoir, Tai Tam Intermediate Reservoir and Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir and the structures include dams, pumping stations, valve houses, staff quarters, aqueduct and bridges. Most of these historic facilities are still intact and in operation. A total of 10 information stations have been set up en route to explain the function and historic value of these monuments. The trail runs from near Hong Kong Parkview at Wong Nai Chung Gap downhill through the country park to Tai Tam Bay. There are BBQ sites on the trail near to Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir and toilets are available at various points. There is a drinks vending machine (Octopus Cards only) located at the country park entrance where the trail crosses Tai Tam Road at Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir.
TRAIL MAP AND GUIDE
A free information pamphlet describing the trail is usually available at Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre in Kowloon Park and can also be downloaded here;
STRUCTURES AND MONUMENTS ALONG THE TRAIL
Information board at the beginning of the trail with Tai Tam Upper Reservoir in the background
TAI TAM UPPER RESERVOIR MASONRY BRIDGE – built between 1883 and 1888 the bridge sits at a right angle to the aqueduct. Its piers and columns are strengthened with moulded capitals or corbels to provide extra support.
TAI TAM UPPER RESERVOIR MASONRY AQUEDUCT – built 1883 to 1888 southwest of the dam behind a small hill and constructed in thick concrete slabs supported by specifically moulded masonry piers and columns. The aqueduct diverts water from a drainage catchment to Tai Tam Upper Reservoir.
Tai Tam Upper Reservoir Masonry Aqueduct
TAI TAM UPPER RESERVOIR DAM – built 1883 to 1888 with towering granite walls 100 feet high, 400 feet long and 60 feet wide. From the dam water gravitated through a 2.2km tunnel through mountains and above ground for 5km to Central.
TAI TAM UPPER RESERVOIR VALVE HOUSE – built 1883 to 1888 and located one-third of the way along the dam. A simple square structure constructed in rock-faced rusticated granite blocks.
Tai Tam Upper Reservoir Dam Wall and Valve House
TAI TAM UPPER RESERVOIR RECORDER HOUSE - (built 1917) and TUNNEL INLET (built 1883 to 1888) – located south of the dam the inlet is covered in iron grating. Access catwalks with guard rails have been built above it. The tunnel carries water through the Bowen Aqueduct which runs above Wan Chai and to Mid-Levels supplying residents and businesses in Central and Western districts of Hong Kong Island.
Photograph of the tunnel inlet. This is concealed behind the Recorder House which is not open to the public and the inlet is not visible from the trail
The trail is well signed and wide concrete paths make for an easy downhill stroll
TAI TAM BYEWASH RESERVOIR VALVE HOUSE – built 1904 and located halfway along the subsidiary dam. The building is rectangular and constructed with rock-faced granite walls. Access walkways along the dam allow regular inspections and are today used by hikers following trails in the country park.
TAI TAM BYEWASH RESERVOIR DAM – built 1904. The dam is a concrete gravity construction faced with masonry. A spillway runs almost the entire length of the dam.
There are several picnic sites and BBQ areas along the trail. This one is located near Tai Tam Tuk Intermediate Reservoir
TAI TAM TUK INTERMEDIATE RESERVOIR DAM – built 1904-1907. A masonry-faced dam which has a stilling pond with concrete side walls and tubular steel guard rails. The dam’s spillway was lowered by 3 metres for safety reasons in the 1980’s leaving the dam looking slightly indented at its crest.
Tai Tam Tuk Intermediate Reservoir Dam
TAI TAM INTERMEDIATE RESERVOIR VALVE HOUSE – built 1904-1907 on a projecting platform reached by footbridge. The plinth consists of several courses of dressed ashlar and the walls are constructed of rock-faced rusticated granite blocks.
Path across dam wall leading to Tai Tam Intermediate Reservoir Valve House
TAI TAM TUK RESERVOIR MASONRY BRIDGE – built 1907 and one of four masonry bridges built along Tai Tam Reservoir’s western shore across significant stream beds. The trail soon crosses two further masonry bridges.
Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir's Masonry Bridge at high water level
TAI TAM TUK RESERVOIR DAM – built 1912 to 1917. The masonry-faced concrete dam has ornamental parapets and twelve large spillways to handle water overflow. Over the spillways is a road deck formed by twelve arches supported by half-round granite columns along which runs the busy Stanley to Chai Wan road.
TAI TAM TUK RESERVOIR VALVE HOUSE – built 1917 and located near the south end of the dam. The valve house is built on a projecting platform with cantilevered steel balconies or catwalks. It is constructed with rock-faced rusticated granite.
Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir Dam and Valve House
TAI TAM TUK RESERVOIR MEMORIAL STONE – erected 1918 to mark the completion of the Tai Tam Reservoir Scheme. Sir Henry May, Governor of Hong Kong from 1912 to 1918 officiated at the ceremony.
Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir Dam Wall
TAI TAM TUK RAW WATER PUMPING STATION– built 1907 to pump water from this southern most part of Hong Kong Island’s catchment to the tunnel inlet in the middle of the hill. The warehouse style building with red brick walls and Chinese tiled pitched roofs encase the engine house containing steam driven pumps capable of pumping three million gallons of water a day.
Tai Tam Tuk Raw Water Pumping Station
TAI TAM TUK RAW WATER PUMPING STATION No 2 STAFF QUARTERS – built 1936. A small detached two-storey block in “Arts and Crafts” architectural style. The building, which is awaiting renovation, has verandas looking out to sea.
TAI TAM TUK RAW WATER PUMPING STATION STAFF QUARTERS – built 1905 to 1907 as accommodation for operational and maintenance staff and located at the western end of the Engine Hall. The original red brick walls have been painted light yellow and the pitched roof is covered with Chinese tiles. Long verandas allow views across Tai Tam Bay and cooling sea breezes during the hot summer months.
TAI TAM TUK RAW WATER PUMPING STATION CHIMNEY SHAFT – built 1907 in red brick to carry smoke generated by the coal-fired steam boilers.
TAI TAM TUK RAW WATER PUMPING STATION SENIOR STAFF QUARTERS – built 1905, originally for the manager of the waterworks system, is a plain two-storey building on a platform at the eastern end of the Engine Hall.
The trail ends on the shores of scenic Tai Tam Bay
Tai Tam Reservoir Road which runs through the country park and along which the heritage trail is located is not open to traffic but can be accessed by bus from either HONG KONG PARKVIEW at its northern end or TAI TAM ROAD at its southern end;
HONG KONG PARKVIEW can be reached by Citybus route 6 (Exchange Square to Stanley Prison), 63 (North Point Ferry Pier to Stanley Prison) or 66 (Exchange Square to Stanley Plaza - Peak hours service). Buses are equipped with next bus top information display panels and passengers should disembark at the stop "Wong Chai Nung Reservoir Park, Wong Chai Nung Gap Road" (which is the stop after Hong Kong Tennis Centre, an easy landmark to recognise, visible from the left hand side of the bus) when travelling towards Stanley. From the bus stop climb the flight of steps to Tai Tam Reservoir Road and walk for about 10/15 minutes uphill past Wong Nai Chung Reservoir continuing past the Wilson Trail and Hong Kong Trail section starting points to reach Hong Kong Parkview. The country park entrance is just beyond. Follow the main path into the country park and past the park management centre and the start of the trail is well signposted, about 1.5km from the park entrance.
The bus stop "Wong Chai Nung Reservoir Park, Wong Nai Chung Gap Road" stands in front of a Sinopec petrol station. Steps on the left, just beyond the bus stop, lead to Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Road (which passes over the bridge in the picture) and Hong Kong Parkview
Hong Kong Parkview
The country park entrance just beyond Hong Kong Parkview. The beginning of the trail is about 1.5km into the park past the park management centre.
TAI TAM ROAD is served by NWFB (New World First Bus 14 (Grand Promenade to Stanley Fort), 314* (Siu Sai Wan to Stanley Beach - Sunday and public holiday only service) and green minibuses 16M (Chai Wan MTR Station to Chung Hong Kok) and 16X (Chai Wan MTR Station to Stanley Beach). Disembark at the entrance to Tai Tam Country Park. The bus stop is at the southern end of the dam wall, which if travelling from Chai Wan direction is the far end of the wall immediately after the bus has passed Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir on the right.
* seasonal service which usually operates from June to September. In 2017 the service operates every Sunday and public holiday from 30th May (Tuen Ng Festival) to 17th September. Service operates from Siu Siu Wan every 30 mins from 09-08 to 19-08 and from Stanley every 30 mins from 09-48 to 19-43. See NWFB (New World First Bus) website for further details.
The bus stop on Tai Tam Road (which the trail crosses on its descent to Tai Tam Harbour). The stop is located next to Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir and buses on this side of the road head for Chai Wan and Shau Kei Wan/Grand Promenade. The stop for buses to Stanley is on the opposite side of the road. There is a BBQ site, drinks vending machine (Octopus Card only) and toilets close by.
OTHER HERITAGE TRAILS