Rifle Range Nature Park
Posted On 28 April 2023
Home to the former Sin Seng Granite Quarry, the 66-hectare Rifle Range Nature Park opened its doors to visitors in November 2022. Rifle Range Nature Park boasts to be Singapore’s first net positive energy nature park, though the energy harvested from the solar panels installed around the park.
The park is opened from 7am to 7pm daily, and is easily accessible by MRT (Beauty World MRT station) or bus (#41, 52, 61, 77, 157, 174, 184, 852, 961, 970, 985). A carpark situated next to the Visitor Pavilion is opened from 7am to 7pm and is chargeable by the minute.
From the moment we arrived, squirrels could be sighted at every corner standing ready to greet us.
Walking around the park is easy via the network of boardwalks and trails. The Glider’s Boardwalk that starts from the Visitor Pavilion ushers us directly towards the Quarry Wetland and the Colugo Deck.
Lounging around the boardwalk, a bunch of Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) were in a friendly mood and welcomed us into their home. Although listed as endangered, these macaques are quite a common sight in the forests and nature reserves in Singapore.
The Sin Seng Quarry was the deepest quarry on mainland Singapore, reaching 55 metres at its deepest point and 3 hectares in size. It ceased operations in 1998 and has now been backfilled and transformed into a freshwater habitat.
From the quarry pond, we can catch a glimpse of the impressive Colugo Deck jutting out of the quarry cliff like a docked spaceship.
Amongst the foliage bordering the quarry pond, we caught sight of a pair of Swinhoe’s White-eye (Zosterops simplex) sniffing around the Simpoh Air (Dillenia suffruticosa) flowers.
Also loitering near the Simpoh Air plants are three different types of bulbuls, the Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier)…
…the Olive-winged Bulbuls (Pycnonotus plumosus)…
…and the Straw-headed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus zeylanicus).
Tucked out of sight next to the quarry pond is the Waterhen Hide, from where we can hide and sneakily spy on the waterbirds…
…such as the White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)…
…and the Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis).
From the quarry pond are a series of stone steps that would bring us higher up the hill and eventually to the viewing platform at the top.
To get there, we have to choose between two options…the moderate route or challenging route.
The challenging route is a shorter but steeper path comprising of large stone steps.
We chose to take the slightly longer moderate route – a flat trail that gradually inclines upwards.
In no time at all, we arrived at the Colugo Deck that looks out over the quarry wetland at a whopping height of 31 metres. The design of the Colugo Deck was inspired by the patagium of the Malayan Colugo. The patagium is a wing-like membrane that allows the Colugo to glide from tree to tree.
At the deck, it was a fantastic feeling standing high above everything else as we enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the quarry wetland…
…and marveled at the awesomeness of the lush green forest all around us.
Keeping still and silent, we could hear the calls of the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) echoing through the forest.
A flash of red flew past our eyes and alerted us to the presence of the Banded Woodpecker (Chrysophlegma miniaceum) as he busily went about his business.
When we eventually descended from the deck, we were presented with more trail options. We could either head back to the Quarry Wetland or Visitor Pavilion, or continue on towards MacRitchie Reservoir Park.
The trail towards MacRitchie starts off as an easy paved path…
…and then transforms into a sandy trail.
We decided to complete our hike with a loop back to the Quarry Wetland and Visitor Pavilion, making for a nice leisurely 4 km walk. From the Visitor Pavilion, there is also the option of hiking through the west section of the park, which will eventually lead us to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.