PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 February, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 February, 2003, 12:00am

One of the real treasures of Hong Kong is the network of footpaths that criss-cross the special administrative region, allowing the casual hiker to discover areas of outstanding natural beauty and breathtaking urban and rural contrasts.

In recent times though, these have given way to sanitised trails that herd everyone along the same tired old routes, for example, Black's Link, Dragon's Back and the Hong Kong Trail.

Although these are certainly important trails upon which the Country Parks Authority performs an admirable level of maintenance, the smaller paths which lead off these hiking arteries are where the true wonder of hiking in Hong Kong can be found.

Lamentably, many of these old paths are in danger of disappearing and some have reverted to nature altogether.

One striking example is the old path over Mount Cameron, the summit of which affords hikers what has to be one of the most sublime 360 degree views available in Hong Kong. There are many other footpaths which only reveal themselves with recourse to older maps and guides.

It would be a terrible shame if we were to lose all our old paths.

Is the Country Parks Authority prepared to at least clear these paths on a regular basis (but not cement them over)?

If not, I urge those interested to try and 'take the path less travelled by' from time to time.

They will discover that not only does it make all the difference, but also helps to preserve our more tranquil byways.