Hong Kong hiking: Bride’s Pool

This easy hike visits Bride’s Pool, a longstanding local beauty spot in the northeast New Territories. The walk is short and quite easy, but the stone steps may be slippery after wet weather. Walking time: 1 hour.

From Tai Po Market railway station, board bus 275R (Sundays and public holidays only) and ride it all the way to its terminus on Bride’s Pool Road. This is a quiet road that runs beside the vast Plover Cove reservoir. (You can also get to this point by green New Territories taxi, or green minibus 20R which passes the bus terminus on its way to Wu Kau Tang village, a bit deeper in the country park).

From the bus stop, walk ahead a short distance, passing the Lions Club pavilion, and then pass through the archway to start on the trail. Very quickly, your path crosses a wide, rocky, fast-flowing stream. Away out of sight to your right, the stream cascades over a ledge and falls steeply into a plunge pool. This is the setting for a tragic local legend. Many years in the past, a bride was being carried in a sedan chair to her wedding in a neighbouring village. The stones were slippery, and the sedan chair bearers lost their footing, pitching the chair and the woman to a watery end far below. The locale has been known as Bride’s Pool ever since.

Cross the bridge and turn right, heading downhill on a beautifully natural path of large stones. The half-inch gaps between them allowed rainwater to flow through and not cover the path; a more enlightened system than the government’s current mania for cement steps. The path, and the bridges across the streams, would have been used by farmers to get from Wu Kau Tang to Chung Mei, but the latter village has been submerged beneath the waters of the Plover Cove reservoir since the 1970s.

At an information board which describes a large camphor tree, turn right and make a 10-minute detour through mossy forest to the banks of the stream. Here, you can get an up-close sight of the gushing waters as they flow across boulders and cascade from pool to pool. Good views can be had if you cross the stream here, though you shouldn’t try to do so unless you are properly equipped for it.

Back at the main path, turn right again to carry on downhill. Soon you come to another stone-slab bridge which was built in 1906. An engraved tablet here commemorates it. The clear, shallow waters of the stream stretch wide here, creating a soothing, peaceful scene.

Walk through the barbecue site to another picturesque crossing where many rivulets of water meet. From here, steps lead back up to the bus stop. (And if you didn’t get a view of the waterfall from the stream’s banks earlier, go to the furthest end of the top barbecue terrace to get a nice view of it from a distance). The last bus back to Tai Po leaves at 6.45pm.

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