Chestnut Nature Park

It was in the news not too long ago that the Government is planning to build a Nature Park at Chestnut Avenue area, next to the species-rich Central Catchment Nature Reserve. When completed next year, the park will have biking and hiking trails, a viewing tower, meeting pavilion and carpark. It is being built to bring Singaporeans closer to nature, but looking at the pitiful state of Sungei Buroh Nature Reserve where very few people are visiting the park despite being free entrance, I am not very optimistic about the success of such a plan.

Furthermore, any development and construction work will have significant impact on the flora and fauna of this rich biodiversity site. A good example is the Tree House Condominium at Chestnut Avenue. About 4 to 5 years ago, it was just a piece of wetland greenery with small slow flowing stream attracting many species of damselflies and dragonflies such as Crenulated Spreadwing (Lestes praemorsus decipiens), Ornate Coraltail (Ceriagrion cerinorubellum), Black-tipped Perch (Diplacodes nebulosa), Pond Adjutant (Aethriamanta gracilis) and Scarlet Pygmy, the smallest dragonfly in Singapore where the males change its colour as they mature. dam & dra combined A very rare damselfly species known as Blue Slim (Aciagrion hisopa) was spotted here on 1 August 2009. Since then, I have not seen anyone sighting this species in Singapore. This could be the only last site to find this species but this place was destroyed to make way for the condominium. I wonder whether this species can still be found in Singapore.

(Aciagrion hisopa)

(Aciagrion hisopa)

Nevertheless, I am glad to read that NParks has called a tender for a biodiversity impact assessment. The study will assess how streams, flora and fauna may be affected by the development and use of the 80ha forested site here, slightly larger than our Botanic Gardens. Similarly to the construction of Cross Island MRT Line where I highlighted the possibility of extinction of Singapore’s most beautiful damselflies, I would like to share the various bugs, insects and wildlife that I had photographed at Chestnut Avenue over the past 6 years. All these beautiful creatures would potentially be destroyed by the construction work of the new Nature Park.

In the forested areas of Chestnut Avenue, there were plentiful of greenery, small and big streams, “waterfall”, etc.

(Forested areas at Chestnut Avenue)

(Forested areas at Chestnut Avenue)

Where we can find butterflies and caterpillar: Butterflies and caterpillar Different species of beetles, red hopper, long-horned hoppers, katydid, etc., various insects Spiders such as Lynx spider, Crab spider, St. Andrew Cross spider, Huntsman spider, Two-tailed spider, etc. Spiders 1 Spiders 2 A few Praying Mantis species, some as large as more than 10 cm, while the tiny boxer mantis is just about 1 cm in size.

(4 different species of praying mantis)

(4 different species of praying mantis)

(An uncommon Boxer Mantis)

(An uncommon Boxer Mantis)

Dragonflies and damselflies of which some of them are uncommon species such as the large Camacinia gigantean and the Handsome Grenadier. more dragonflies We can even find beautiful wild mushrooms of different colours and sizes. Aren’t they look delicious? mushrooms Chestnut Avenue Nature Trail is one of my favourite macro sites and I have visited this place many times. I have also led a few informal macro photography outings here including the recent one just 2 days ago where I was fortunate to capture a decent shot of a photogenic Green Crested Lizard.

(Green Crested Lizard)

(Green Crested Lizard)

I like the untouched natural beauty and given such a rich biodiversity in this area, I hope our National Parks Board will find ways to ensure minimum disturbance to this piece of nature reserve.

5 thoughts on “Chestnut Nature Park

  1. Antony,

    I still live in the neighbourhood around Chestnut Ave. Been living here for years.

    When there were still kampungs. No BKE. No Bukit Panjang estate. How we evolve.

    I too agree that the impact of but a small change in this fragile ecosystem will cause an impact on diversity.

    Whatever is going to be done, its probably needs no human intervention whatsoever. That will be the root of all evils. Leave nature to do what nature does best.


    I love the pictures.

  2. Hi Carl,

    Sorry for the late reply and thanks for dropping by.

    I envy you for staying so near to nature reserve. Hope to bump into you when I visit Chestnut Ave one day.

    Have a nice day!


  3. Hi Anthony,

    Must be some those guys doing the studies taking photos for hours i “bumped” into during my runs. Can’t say I am an insect lover, but can testify those pictures are needed to amplify their beauty. Although there are many, one needs to be very patient and even lucky just to spot some of them! Brought my children there when they were younger. (yes before the treetop/foresque/eco ….)

    Sorry tresspassed here as I was trying to find out what this Chesnut park was all about as we know it, this place is already a “park”, with mountain bikers, runners and hikers squeezing during the weekends and on public holidays. Can’t say I see a lot of “nature lovers” though.. at this point. too rough?

    Agreed with you, NPark should not make too much changes/building people friendly amenities, too many users will be an issue too (Bukit Timah NR is very good example) overbuild/changes place will be devoid of natural animals too.


  4. Hi Anthony,

    I on the other hand am very thrilled to hear the construction of Chestnut Nature a trail lover and been running and biking on trails in Singapore for the past 27yrs.there is not much trails in Singapore for such great healthy activities like trail running and mountain biking.and I been running and biking in the other limited trails in the Dairy Farm and Chestnut Ave area for many years now and I have lots of other runners,hikers and bikers using those trails during weekends and on weekdays I expect Chestnut Nature Park to be a very very popular destination for trail lovers.the nature park at Sungei Buroh is not a trail park but a wetland reserve.who wants to go to a wetland reserve anyway?what can one expect to do in a wetland reserve?it was a real dim-witted idea to build that wetland reserve and so im not surprised its a disaster so far.but I fully expect Chestnut Nature Park to be a massive hit with trail lovers of all sorts and types.i for once cant wait for it to be opened to the public!

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