The Pinewood Battery was the highest coastal defense battery in Hong Kong. Originally setup to strengthen the defence the western harbour of Hong Kong, it was later converted into an anti-aircraft battery. But today, the battery lies in ruins. And as I’ve been intrigued by war relics in Hong Kong, I decided to hike to Pinewood Battery and check out its ruins for myself.
The next time you’re at Victoria Peak, go visit the battery and take a quick tour down Hong Kong’s war history.
How To Get To Pinewood Battery
The Pinewood Battery is located in the Lung Fu Shan Country Park in the Central and Western District of Hong Kong. The easiest way to get to the battery is via a 2.3 kms hike from the Peak.
Here is the map and incline details of the hike for reference.
You can also reach Pinewood Battery from Kennedy Town via Pok Fu Lam Road. Details on the starting point of that hike can be found in this post on Mount High West.
The most convenient way to start this hike is from Victoria Peak. You can get to the Peak via the Peak Tram, bus number 15 from Central / Wan Chai, or by taxi. Once at the Peak, take the left going down Harlech Road from from next to The Peak Lookout Cafe.
Walk down Harlech Road for approximately 1 km. The trail is flat and on the way you’ll pass by the Lugard Waterfall, and the fitness park. This trail forms part of the Peak Circle Walk, and is extremely popular with walkers and joggers.
At the end of Harlech Road you’ll come across another park with a gazebo. This park is where the three roads, Harlech, Lugard, and Hatton, meet. From here, take the fork towards Hatton Road. Walk past the public restroom for about 5 minutes till you reach the stairs going down towards Lung Fu Shan Fitness Trail.
Lung Fu Shan Fitness Trail
At this point, walk down on the fitness trail towards Pinewood Battery. You should see the signs along the way.
I found this path to be very secluded and picturesque. In fact, there’s a beautiful siting area that overlooks the skyline of Hong Kong. Perhaps take a moment to admire this view.
After another 5 minutes you should arrive at the Lung Fu Shan picnic area. Yes, today the area around Pinewood Battery has been converted into a picnic area. In fact, the Pinewood Battery is right behind this picnic area.
The History of Pinewood Battery
As you walk onto the main battery area, you can’t help but notice all the signs about its history.
The battery started constructions in 1901 and finished in 1905. It was constructed by the British Military to strengthen the defence of the western approach of the harbour. However, due to the concern of cost coastal defences, and the intention of constructing another battery on Mt. Davis, the guns were removed from Pinewood Battery and it was made redundant in 1913.
But in 1930, once warfare moved from the sea to air, the Pinewood Battery was reinstated and was converted into an anti-aircraft battery. I assume at a height of 307 metres (1,009 feet) its position served its strategic importance.
During the Battle of Hong Kong (8-25 December 1941), the battery was manned by personnel of the 17th Anti-Aircraft Battery, and the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery. On 15 December 1941, it was heavily air-raided and shelled by the Japanese artillery fire. The battery and the guns were badly damaged, and the personnel were evacuated.
After the Second World War, the Pinewood Battery fell out of use again.
Today, the Pinewood Battery is historical landmark that serves as the reminder of Hong Kong’s military past. Although the battery lies in ruins in the middle of Lung Fu Shan Country Park, it’s still reasonably well preserved. The gun battery, the magazine, the command post, and observation post are very visible but with their battle scars. There is also a heritage trail designed around the battery to give visitors a full tour. The map of the trail can be found at the site.
Complete the Pinewood Battery Hike
Spend as much time as you need to admire the battery and soak up its history. And once you’re done, you have a couple of options to finish the hike.
Trace your steps back to Victoria Peak and finish the hike. There are plenty of (touristy) cafes, and bars to replenish yourself after the hike.
Continue on Lung Fu Shan Fitness Trail till it reunites with Hatton Road. Then follow Hatton Road down towards Kotewall Road.
Continue on Lung Fu Shan Fitness Trail, through the country park, till it meets Pok Fu Lam Road. From here you can walk down to HKU MTR station.
If you want to make your hike to Pinewood Battery more challenging, you can do options 2 or 3 in reverse. You could do the Pinewood Battery along with Mount High West.
Unlike many of the other batteries in Hong Kong, the Pinewood Battery is relatively easy to reach, and is located in the heart of the city. Perhaps the next time you’re at the Peak with a friend from out of town, take them for a short hike to Pinewood Battery. They definitely will appreciate this war relic in the middle of Hong Kong.