If you need to find out anything about Bewl Water then this talented trio are on hand to help. We spoke to each of them about their involvement with the south east’s biggest reservoir and the special recreational activities that can be enjoyed
Andrew Daniells, Markerstudy Leisure Chief Operating Officer
WHEN DID YOU TAKE OVER THE RUNNING OF BEWL?
We got the keys on January 8 and spent the next nine weeks redeveloping. Our first project was the building that was formerly the sailing clubhouse but is now The Boat House Bistro.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PUT IN ANOTHER RESTAURANT AT BEWL?
It was a no-brainer. As soon as we saw the fabulousÂ view over the lake we knew it was the perfect spot for a bistro. If we provide those kinds of views with beautiful food then you know people will come – it’s that straightforward.
WHAT OTHER IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU MADE?
We’ve worked extensively on the grounds, carrying out that essential TLC that makes all the difference.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO OPEN TWO DIFFERENT RESTAURANTS?
We decided The Boat House Bistro would be all about the view and The Waterfront would be more family orientated. Children only want to eat when they’re hungry so the latter’s location near the play area is perfect.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES TO OFFER AT BEWL THAT ARE CURRENTLY IN THE PIPELINE?
We want to make it somewhere people will wantÂ to go all year round and to make it seasonal. It’s obviously great thanks to all the activities that are on offer but it’s also a nice place to come for just a walk.
WILL YOU BE CHANGING ANY OF THE BIG EVENTS THAT HAPPEN HERE SUCH AS THE TRIATHLONS?
We’re keen to keep all the previous events such as the Dragon Boat racing and the marathons and triathlons. They are very popular and get people outside and active. That’s why we’re also introducing a water taxi service so visitors won’t be put off going for a long walk.
WHY DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO COME ALONG TO BEWL?
It’s fantastic value for money. You only pay £2 parking now and you can also bring your own bike and a picnic, so if you want to entertain the family on a budget you can. Each time you come back there will be something different to do.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING AT BEWL?
Sailing has been one of my passions for years and my of? ce overlooks the lake! I’ve also got a really good team of people here who are so enthusiastic. I’ve got the dream job, I really have.
ARE YOU KEEN TO HEAR WHAT THE PUBLIC THINK OF BEWL SO FAR?
Oh yes, very much so. We have a webpage (www.bewlwater.co.uk) where people can leave email messages or there are the usual social mediaÂ platforms too. We really do listen and respond to people’s comments.
Howard Mackenzie, Bewl Water Estate Manager
HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED AT BEWL?
For the past 39 years. I have been Estate Manager here since 1995.
WHY HAVE YOU BEEN DOING THE JOB FOR SO LONG?
I think because I love it so much. The place hasÂ developed a lot over the years and I think that makes things interesting. A lot of changes have been made by the new management which I really welcome, such as the improvement of the bridleways, the general facilities, the upgrading of the estate and the refurbishment of the playground.
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY?
The upkeep of the land predominantly and also the six ranger staff who work with me on the estate. I’m very pleased that the new owners are dedicated to providing good public access and encouraging more and more people to come to this wonderful site.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The location; the beauty; the variety and the wildlife that Bewl offers. I also enjoy the fact that no two days are the same.
WHAT WILDLIFE CAN PEOPLE EXPECT TO SEE?
Mostly birdlife – we have a range of birds from Osprey to diving ducks and grebes. You can see plenty of deer. It’s lovely that all this nature comes as part of my job.
DO YOU HAVE A REGULAR WORKING PATTERN LIKE MONDAY TO FRIDAY, 9 TO 5?
No, I do whatever is needed whenever. It also varies from season to season. I’m in the office half the time but out on site for the rest inspecting the land and lake.
WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT BEWL WATER?
I think simply because it’s outstandingly beautiful, in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s fabulous in all weathers and never ceases to amaze. I love watching how things change every season.
HOW MANY STAFF DO YOU HAVE ON SITE?
I have six rangers who work with me and then extra staff as and when we require them at busier times.
Fishing lodge: 01892 890 352
Estate Office: 01892 890 000
Cycle hire: 01892 893935
Bewl Water Outdoor Centre: 03000 415 200
Rowing Club: www.bewlrowingclub.co.uk
Canoe Club: www.bewlcanoeclub.co.uk
Flyfisher’s Club: www.bewlbridgeflyfishers.co.uk
www.bewlwater.co.uk or follow Bewl on Facebook and Twitter
Bewl Water, Bewlbridge Lane, Lamberhurst Kent TN3 8JH