Category Archives: kentridgewalks

Ridge Walk – a series of five Friday evening briskwalks along the Southern Ridges

Dear friends,

In 2008, a 9-km series of trails, bridges and walkways were unveiled – these reconnected the Southern Ridges which had been carved through by several roads (see map). An almost continuous traffic-free walk from NUS to HarbourFront became possible and takes two hours at a brisk pace.

This is an excellent way to get in some exercise at the end of a tough week, amidst a unique landscape and greenery. Get to know various points along the Southern Ridges and plan your future visits. But it all starts with a walk and we are hard pressed to find the time.

To get you going, NUS Toddycats, in conjunction with Ridge View Residential College are leading a series of brisk walks for NUS staff, students and friends from YIH Plaza through to HarbourFront MRT on the following dates:

  1. Fri 24 Mar 2017
  2. Fri 28 Apr 2017
  3. Fri 19 May 2017
  4. Fri 30 Jun 2017
  5. Fri 28 Jul 2017

If you struggle to keep up initially, you can peel off at any time. Several popular stop points along the way are:

  1. 2.0km, 22 mins – Science Park 1 (Kent Ridge MRT Station); [route]
  2. 4.0km, 51 mins – Reflections at Bukit Chandu (near Pasir Panjang MRT Station) [route]
  3. 5.3km, 1h 12mins – Alexandra Arch (near Labrador Park MRT Station); [route]
  4. 6.2km, 1h 22mins – Henderson Waves (near Telok Blangah) – Bus Stop no. 14051 & 14059; [route]
  5. 8.8km, 2h 5mins – HarbourFront (near MRT Station); [route]

Your guides frm NUS Toddycats will be Kenneth Pinto, Xu Weiting, Airani S & N. Sivasothi.

If there is threat of heavy rain, strong winds prior to a storm or haze, we will cancel the walk and inform you by email.

Register here!

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Kent Ridge Heritage Trail Part 3 with the NUS Toddycats!

27 April 2015 – NUS Toddycats conducted the 3rd Kent Ridge Heritage Trail of the year.

Veteran Kok Oi Yee and N. Sivasothi aka Otterman, our Pasir Panjang Heritage Guides led a group of 31 NUS Staff on a walk along Kent Ridge Road from Central Library to Science Block S2.

The participants who met at the tables in front of the Chinese Library were enthusiastic and punctual. Oi Yee set off with the first group, and began with kampung stories of simpoh air (Dillenia suffruticosa) which line the secondary forest of the Ridge. Sivasothi set off with the second group and in pointing out the most common flora of the Adinandra beluakr, an their traditional uses was soon quizzing participants about local names!

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We accompanied Sivasothi’s group and at one point, heard him relate highlights of the Battle of Pasir Panjang. The battle whiuch took place in the area, saw the Malay Regiment resist overwhelming invading Japanese forces. The chilling account of the brave defence opened our eyes to the horrors of war and unearthed secrets of the landscape we never knew were lurking in campus.

We walked towards the stairs leading to S2, where Sivasothi showed everyone a WW2 outpost now behind a fence. We ended the walk on a light note though, discussing the lives of several animals on campus, including the Toddycats mascot, the common palm civet, which has been seen in this area!

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Brought to you by NUS Toddycats, volunteers with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum as part of SG50 celebrations.

Kent Ridge Heritage Trail Training – Mapping the trail with lamp post numbers

The Kent Ridge Guide Trainees were told to report to the benches outside the Chinese Library for training. Despite the pouring rain, they arrived punctually. Once the rain abated, we set off!

At the very start, we saw a female Pink Necked Green Pigeon eating the fruits of a palm tree. Even though it was pretty cold, there was a Changeable Lizard sitting on a rock in the open.

We were told by Sivasothi aka Otterman to map out the Ridge, using each lamp post as a checkpoint and identifying important landmarks around them. This was to give us a better understanding of the biogeography of the area.

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From the left: Lynn, Sankar, Hui Zhen, Becky, Ing Sind, Cherry and Shira

During the first training session, we learnt the common plants of the Ridge in theory. But walking along Kent Ridge Road itself gave us an opportunity to experience the place first-hand.

By mapping the Ridge, we learnt where the significant landmarks and plants where located, allowing us to develop our own individual styles of guiding. At the end, we walked past S2 towards Kent Ridge station. As we were passing by KE7 Hall, Becky turned around and saw an orange glow in the sky. “Let’s go see the sunset!” she exclaimed. Excitedly, we climbed the stairs to the carpark. And the view was simply breathtaking.

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It was truly an unexpected, unplanned surprise.

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Capacity building of our youth through NUS Toddycats, volunteers with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, is part of SG50 celebrations.

Kent Ridge Heritage Trail Walks – PART 2!

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Despite the rain forecast for Monday evening, 27 participants (and 7 guide trainees) joined us for our monthly walk along the Kent Ridge Heritage Trail!

Oi Yee set off with the first group, flanked by three trainees, Sankar, Ingsind and Becky. Right off the bat, Oi Yee wows the crowd by talking about a commonly seen but rarely noticed plant – Simpoh air

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As we walked along, we saw some red seeds scattered on the road. “Does anyone know what these are?” Oi Yee asked. One of the participants piped up, “Saga seeds!” Excitedly, Oi Yee explained how she used to play with the seeds as a girl.

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The participants walked around, picking up the seeds to get a closer look at them! DSC06952

Soon, we encountered Nepenthes gracilis, or slender pitcher plants, growing on the side of the road. These carnivorous plants trap insects in their pitcher-shaped modified leaf tips.

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Oi Yee also reminisced about how she used to walk the ridge in her younger days. She recounts how she used to sit on the stone wall and stare out to the sea. The wall itself was built by the British and still stands by the side of the road today!

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Oi Yee playfully talked about the Hibiscus, another beautiful plant that can be found on the Ridge.

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The walk ended at the Gap where we took a photo in the fading light, where the commemorative marble plaque marking the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Kent was laid.

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The third group led by N. Sivasothi aka Ottoman consisted of guide trainees Lynn, Cherry, Hui Zhen, and Zong Xian – eagerly started along the trail as Otterman describes to us the techniques of guiding on the ridge.

We started off revising self-introductions and giving a brief history of the ridge before learning more about the ecology and significance of some plants along the ridge! From the bright yellow flowers of Simpoh Air, to the sweet scent of crushed Smilax, the group of us strolled along Kent Ridge Road feverishly scribbling notes while pondering how best to describe the plant to future walk participants.

Otterman recounted his experiences with guiding the Kent Ridge Road and shared tips on how to engage the audience, with eight pairs of ears listening intently to his stories. It wasn’t long before the enjoyable walk ended at S2, and the group of us lingered by the stairs listening to his stories and getting poked to answer questions by his handy umbrella.

At the end of this impromptu training, we were left in awe at the rich history of the Ridge as well as the budding biodiversity of this small green patch in NUS.

More photos of our walk can be found on Flickr!

Would you like to find out more about this amazing trail right in NUS? Do keep a look out for our next walk!

Toddycat

Brought to you by NUS Toddycats, volunteers with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum as part of SG50 celebrations.

Kent Ridge Heritage Trail Training – Session 1

The newly revived Kent Ridge Heritage Trail held its first guide training sessions on the 23rd and 26th of February 2015!

“What makes a good guide?” asked N. Sivasothi aka Otterman. Some suggested that a guide should be approachable and friendly. Others said that a guide should be knowledgeable and observant. Still others thought that theatricality and story-telling skills were important qualities in a guide. This launched a discussion about the objectives of the training session.

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Don’t be fooled by the handphones! They’re all diligently taking notes.

Then, the future guides dived into a succinct, yet informative lesson on map drawing. They were separated into 3 groups and told to draw Kent Ridge and its surrounding areas on the whiteboards. They were also required to identify key landmarks in the area and demarcate them on the map.

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Siva talks to the trainee guides about the geography of Kent Ridge and the surrounding areas

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Comparing their hand-drawn maps to the ones found online

Once the maps were drawn and critiqued, the guides were sent to Kent Ridge Road. They were told to collect leaves from five common plants along the road (Simpoh air, Resam, White-leaved Fig, Sendudok and Smilax). Once back, they were told to bring them home and draw the leaves on a notebook.

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Smiling with the Smilax leaves!

Day 2 was much like Day 1. However, there were only 3 trainees. So it was all flying solo for them.Each person had to draw their own maps!

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Listing out the qualities of a good guide

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Ingsind and Sankar figuring out the details of the area’s geography while Lynn confidently maps it out in the background.

And so, the grooming of these enthusiastic youngsters to turn them into full fledged Kent Ridge Heritage  Guides. Look out NUS!

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Capacity building of our youth through NUS Toddycats, volunteers with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, is part of SG50 celebrations.

The Kent Ridge Heritage Trail revived with the first NUS Walk for the year!

The Kent Ridge forested area is host to a wide variety of flora and fauna and an area with historical significance. However, although right within NUS, not many are familiar with its significance.

In an effort to promote an awareness of Singapore’s natural and historical heritage, and t promote conversations amongst NUS staff, guided walks of the Kent Ridge Heritage Trail have returned. The trail was conceived in 2002 in response to the URA Concept Plan by N. Sivasothi aka Otterman. At its peak, the guiding team conducted four Heritage Walk events in a single year but the walk would later only be conducted annually in commemoration of the Battle of Pasir Panjang.

Oi Yee walking the Ridge in the late 50s!
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This year an effort is being made to have a shorter version of the walk conducted monthly! Yes, that’s right! And the January walk was successfully conducted on 26 Jan 2015. Twenty-three staff of NUS turned up at the entrance of CDTL to learn about the Ridge in their backyard.

The guides, David, Oi Yee and Sivasothi regaled them with a rich variety of stories and in what seemed like a very short time, it was 7.00pm and time to leave the ridge! The short version of the ridge works well as an appetiser for NUS staff who head home, hopefully to return to explore our backyard and the Southern Ridges in future.

The first group clustered around veteran guide Kok Oi Yee
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Final year student David “birdman” Tan warms up the second group of participants
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Introducing the two Toddycats SG50 interns, A Sankar  & and Lynn Ng!

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Here’s to many more walks on the Ridge!

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Public education through NUS Toddycats, volunteers with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, is part of SG50 celebrations.