Kent Ridge Park (Chinese: 肯特岗公园) is a 47-hectare public park in western Singapore, between the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Science Park. Due to its undisturbed habitat and abundant plant life, it is a popular venue for bird-watchers and eco-tourists.
During the Second World War, a hill in the park was the site of one of the last and fiercest battles fought by the Malay Regiment against the invading Japanese army, the Battle of Bukit Chandu (also known as the Battle of Pasir Panjang), 12–14 February 1942.
The park was officially opened in 1954, and was gazetted by the National Heritage Board as one of 11 World War II sites in Singapore in 1995. It is one of 300 parks managed by Singapore's National Parks Board, NParks.
The area occupied by Kent Ridge Park and the National University of Singapore was formerly known as Pasir Panjang Ridge, and was originally a lowland evergreen rainforest. The park's natural vegetation now consists of groves of Tembusu, Acacias and Dillenias. When the first settlers arrived in Singapore in the early 19th century, they grew crops such as rubber, pepper, gambier and pineapple on the ridge. During World War II, it was used as a fortress by the British in the defence of Singapore. Many of the plantations were destroyed or abandoned during the Japanese Occupation (1942–1945), allowing the crops to grow wild.
On 23rd February 1954, the Governor of Singapore, Sir John Fearns Nicoll unveiled a plaque which declared the area had been renamed Kent Ridge to commemorate the visit by the Duchess of Kent and her son, the Duke of Kent, on 3rd October 1952. The plaque was erected at the junction of what is now Kent Ridge Road and South Buona Vista Road.
The park contains Bukit Chandu, alternatively known as Opium Hill (in Malay), after the opium processing factory owned by the British East India Company that was at the foot of the hill until 1910. During 12–14 February 1942, it was the site of the Battle of Bukit Chandu, fought by the 159 survivors of the Malay Regiment led by Lieutenant Adnan Bin Saidi against the 13,000 men of Lieutenant-General Mutaguchi Renya's 18th Division. Most of the remaining wild part of the park comprises secondary forest with plants native to Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia such as Tembusu, Angsana, White Leaf Fig, Common Pulai, Singapore Rhododendron, Pitcher plants, Cicada tree and Simpoh Air.
The trails through the park, including one for mountain biking, run almost parallel along the ridge. There is a natural pond with fishes and turtles in the north-west of the park. A 280-metre long canopy walk was completed in the eastern part of the park in October 2003, linking Kent Ridge Park to the war museum, Reflections at Bukit Chandu, enhancing the park's and museum's accessibility to the public. Along the walk, there are information boards providing educational information on the flora and fauna in the park. At the half-way point, there is a shelter for visitors to take a short break or to enjoy a scenic view of Normanton Park and the National Parks Board's plant nursery.<ref name="NParks"/>
Due to its undisturbed habitat and abundant plant life, Kent Ridge Park has long been a bird sanctuary for resident and migratory birds during the winter season. As such, it is one of four popular birdwatching sites on mainland Singapore along with Pasir Ris Park, Fort Canning Park and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Birds found in the park include: White-crested Laughing Thrush, Collared Kingfisher, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Banded Woodpecker, Pink-necked Pigeon, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, White-breasted Waterhen, Spotted Dove.
Eco-tours and heritage tours are regularly organised by various special interest groups such as the Nature Society Singapore and the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, for students and the general public.
- Battle of Pasir Panjang
- Fort Pasir Panjang
- Poh Ern Shih Temple
- Reflections at Bukit Chandu war museum, Singapore.
- Map of Kent Ridge Park
- Interactive 360 degree view of Kent Ridge Park
- Kent Ridge Commemorative Plaque
- National Parks Board website
- Reflections at Bukit Chandu website