Pat Sin Leng Country Park stretches imposingly along the north coast of Tolo Harbour. Great views of the mountain range can be had traveling north along the KCR line and Tolo Highway.
The indented northern boundary of the Pat Sin Leng park is typical of most of the other Country Parks in Hong Kong. If you follow the boundaries of any of the Country Parks, you’ll find that lowlying areas were omitted when the parks were gazetted. It was no accident that the areas of greatest biodiversity were left out; the parks were not actually conceived as nature reserves, their prime purpose was as water gathering grounds to refill the colony’s reservoirs. Many of the boundaries follow the same contour almost without variation around the park perimeter, often, on the ground the contour is marked with a concrete channel; the ground below the channel being outside the park; the ground above inside. Any water run-off is collected in the channel running via a network of tunnels to the reservoirs – many of the reservoirs are themselves interconnected with more tunnels so that water can be moved from one to another. The lowlying wetlands no longer receive their natural overland recharge, and being outside the park boundary are not protected from development. The omitted areas regularly make the news headlines in Hong Kong when developers buy lots or drain wetlands to facilitate inappropriate development.
The wetland areas omitted from Pat Sin Leng are regarded as being the most biodiverse ecosystems in Hong Kong. Sha Lo Tung (near Tai Po industrial estate) has suffered regular trashing and draining by developers and disturbance by half witted weekend paintballers. On the northern side, Nam Chung and Luk Keng are better preserved but there is nothing to prevent developers rolling in and draining fishponds or the Luk Keng marsh. Given the proximity of Sha Tau Kok crossing into mainland China, how long this are will remain undisturbed is uncertain.