New Territories indigenous residents are descendants of early migrants who settled here a few centuries ago. When these pioneers first arrived from Southern China, Hong Kong was a spacious and sparsely populated territory. To look after each other and ensure safety, they lived together in concentrated settlements. Most early settlers were farmers and relied heavily on the natural environment and supportive conditions. For this reason, most of them believed in fung shui and selected village sites that “back onto green mountains and receive water”. With time, this became a signature layout pattern of villages in the New Territories.
A typical layout of fung shui woods
A village of good fung shui is always shielded by rolling hills at the back and on two sides. Serving as a natural barrier, the fung shui wood is located immediately behind the village. When selecting the site for a village, native trees and shrubs are important considerations. It is best to find a location with mature native vegetation, where various other plants of functional value can be added to develop a good forest. As the fung shui wood matures, it will gradually take a crescent shape to embrace the village, just like a helmet covering a head - a stereotypical fung shui ambience of “backing onto green mountains”.