Nature reclaims Chinese village

China's rampant development has sent nature into full retreat, but in one village, the countryside has crept back to reclaim lost ground.

Houtouwan was once a thriving fishing community of sturdy brick homes clinging to the steep hills of the remote island of Shengshan, about 140km from Shanghai.

But it is now abandoned, with entire houses completely overgrown, as if shrink-wrapped in a lush fairy-tale layer of green.

Established in 1950, Houtouwan prospered on the sea's riches. However, its tiny harbour eventually proved too small for the larger vessels needed to sustain fishing, and the ships were diverted to nearby ports instead.

By the mid-1990s, the village was largely abandoned until recent years, when selfie-snapping day-trippers made excursions to the island.

Last year, however, in a bid to protect Houtouwan's unique landscape, the local authorities started charging a 50 yuan (S$10) entry fee, reported Agence France-Presse.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2018, with the headline 'Nature reclaims Chinese village'. Print Edition | Subscribe