The Fantastic Po Pin Chau Hike

Huang Keith Hak-kong

  1. Design objectives

1.1.         To enhance user experience on a proper trail pathway, with resting opportunities and an appealing destination.

1.2.         Viewing platform to bring visitors as close as possible to Po Pin Chau (PPC) and nature.

1.3.         Minimizing environmental impacts, see Section 2.

1.4.         Using materials compatible with the countryside, see Section 3.

  1. Envisioned elements

2.1.         Entrance – The access connects the information kiosk and shelter to the entry stairway. To enhance safety and avoid vehicular traffic, the road is re-routed, and a lawn laid around the kiosk. Buffer plants screen the utility building. The patio at entrance stairway and existing trees are retained, with some new trees to enhance the entrance and hide the slope. See Figure B01.

2.2.         Photo Points – The hilly elevation allows great views of the surrounding scenery. The identified locations provide opportunities for photo-taking and rest. Benches are located to provide scenic views, usually under tree shading. Intermediary areas mark nearby resting spots, thereby encouraging effort before welcome rest. Refer to Figures B04, B07, B10, B14, B21, and B24.

2.3.         Viewing platform – The destination viewing platform emphasizes a connection to nature. The headland overlooking PPC connects the hiker to the elements of a generous scenic view, the ocean breeze, and the sound of waves below. Instead of guardrails, a lower footpath wrapped around the viewing platform enables visitors to safely sit and dangle their feet over the edge. The hexagonal platform reminds users to enjoy views in multiple directions, and profile echoes the volcanic rocks. See Figure B27.

2.4.         Waterway crossing – In the valley of Fa Shan, a footbridge guides visitors over a waterway, preserving the natural flow, without impacting the waterway. Where the trail intertwines natural water channels, the floor grading should continue the water’s flow direction. See Figure B17.

  1. Trail materials

3.1.         Handrails – To assist visitors and prevent accident falls off steep slopes, handrails are installed. An auger style ground anchors minimize ground impact, and an open design enables wildlife to cross. See Figure A18.

3.2.         Paving (trail) –The path is aggregate bound with a permeable resin, see Figure A12. A lighter colour reflects sunlight and lowers pavement temperature, and the porous nature reduces surface runoff and eliminates the need for costly drainage systems.

3.3.         Paving (traffic areas) – The entrance courtyard, photo points and step treads bear heavier underfoot traffic and call for more durable material. These paving areas could utilize the available volcanic rocks at the site, set in a crazy cut pattern to echo the kiosk’s paving. See Figure A13.

3.4.         Paving (deck) – The narrow uneven terrain on the headland requires the viewing platform to be elevated with pedestals. A natural timber deck adds the finishing warmth, see Figure A14.

3.5.         Sun protection – The existing trail is overgrown with a layer of shrubs, with no trees found. New tree plantings located at strategic points will offer foliage shade protection at the rest areas. See Figure A15.