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Hiking at Dover Forest West

Hiking at Dover Forest West

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There are 2 sections in Dover Forest: Dover Forest West and Dover Forest East. While Dover Forest East will become history come 2022, the Dover Forest West will remain until at least 2030.

This article is about Dover Forest West.

Dover Forest West is bigger and richer in biodiversity compared to its sibling, Dover Forest East. In other words, it is much harder to hike compared to the East section.

Dover Forest East and West
Dover Forest East and West (adapted from Google Map)

The truth about Dover Forest West

1. There is no clearly marked trails

Dover Forest West is currently a forest, not a public park, so there is no clearly marked trails, and there are no written signs. There are ribbons tied by previous hikers but you still need to rely on your phone’s GPS/compass and Google Maps to find your way.

2. Be prepared to bash overgrown tall grass

Depending on the season you visit, you may face overgrown tall grass or dried grass. I visited during the rainy season, thus the grass was so overgrown that I got scratches from walking through the tall grass. It may be useful to bring hiking pole or long umbrella to bash the tall grass.

3. This is a tough trail, don’t go alone and empty-handed

It is tough, especially for casual hikers. Some paths are covered by overgrown tall grass, you can’t really go through the trail without getting scratches. We didn’t meet any big animal inside the forest, but we did see a monitor lizard outside the forest.

4. Be prepared to lose your way

Confession: we got lost in the forest! There were quite many ribbons so we just followed all of them. Guess what? We made a loop and we were back to near the entrance without realizing it. If you really want to go from one end to the other end successfully, you really need to check your maps frequently to make sure you’re on track.

5. Allow at least 2 hours hiking time

The distance from the west boundary to the east boundary is approximately 1.6km. An experience hiker could probably get through it in 1 hour or less, but for casual hikers, I’d recommend allowing at least 2 hours of hiking time. Do bring the necessary snack and water.

How to go

There are 2 entrance/exit points to Dover Forest West.

1. The first one is near Dover MRT. From Dover MRT, walk across the green field, cross the small stream and you will see an opening with a caution sign.

How to go to Dover Forest
This the view you will get when you come out from Dover MRT. The left side of the walkway is Dover Forest West.
How to go to Dover Forest West (1)
Walk across the flat green field, towards Dover Forest West direction
How to go to Dover Forest West
You will see a small opening with a caution sign. This is the entrance.

2. The second one is at Ulu Pandan Park Connector near Clementi Road. Look for a small canal that’s perpendicular to Ulu Pandan River, then walk along the left side of the canal, through the tall grass. Because the grass is really tall, it takes time to find the correct path.

How to go to Dover Forest West
This is Ulu Pandan Park Connector. Keep a lookout for a big concrete manhole and a drain.
How to go to Dover Forest West
This is the big concrete manhole, with a drain behind it. Walk along the railing into the forest.

What to bring

  • Umbrella or raincoat, in case it rains when you are inside the forest.
  • Water. There’s no water point inside the forest.
  • Mosquito/insect repellant
  • Extra clothes (optional)
  • Trekking pole or something long and sturdy (optional) to bash tall grass or creeper plants.

Possible Routes

Because there is no clearly-demarcated trails, finding your way can be quite difficult. Before you go on your hike, it’s good to be familiar with the routes that other hikers have taken. Below are some possible routes that I found on Alltrails, as well as the route that I took.

Dover Forest West - Possible Route 1
Dover Forest West – Possible Route 1 (Source)
Dover Forest West - Possible Route 2
Dover Forest West – Possible Route 2 (Source)
Dover Forest West - Possible Route 3
Dover Forest West – Possible Route 3 (this is the route that I took)

In the Route 3 map above, you can see that I entered via Ulu Pandan Park Connector. And you can also see that I didn’t go through the entire length of the forest until to Dover MRT. That was because we faced tall overgrown grass along Clementi Road which we couldn’t pass through, so we decided to walk inside the forest to find another way. We ended up making a loop and went back to near entrance without realizing it. So, we decided to call it a day.

Inside Dover Forest West

The following photos are taken during my hike (refer to Route 3 above). They are arranged in chronological order, starting from Ulu Pandan Park Connector, towards Clementi Road, then we unintentionally made a counter-clockwise loop and back at near our entry point.

Inside Dover Forest West
Before entering the forest, we had to bash the tall grass first. The trail is hard to find, because it’s covered by these tall grass.
Inside Dover Forest West
After passing through the tall grass, we finally arrived at the forest. Here, there are not much grass.
Inside Dover Forest West
Inside Dover Forest West
Spotted red and white ribbon. Here, the dried leaves are very huge in size.
Inside Dover Forest West
Took a photo with the big leaves
Inside Dover Forest West
Spotted white ribbon
Inside Dover Forest West
Big tree
Inside Dover Forest West
This is near bus stop at Clementi Road. Based on Route 1 and 2 in the above section, we were supposed to walk along the railing. But the grass is too overgrown and too dense (it’s taller than 2 meter high), we can’t go through it safely. So we decided to go back into forest to look for other trails.
Inside Dover Forest West
Saw this interesting plant with a very unique root system
Inside Dover Forest West
We followed the ribbons and there were plenty of them
Inside Dover Forest West
One of the ribbon said, “Lost.” We can relate. We were lost too.
Inside Dover Forest West
Leaves surrounding the tree’s trunk

Conclusion

I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again. This is a very tough and demanding trail. It’s not suitable for people who want an easy walk in the park; because this is a forest, not a park. If you’re keen to hike, be well-prepared.

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