A brief history of Bewl Water

Phil Daley

  • Work on creating the Bewl reservoir began in 1973 by Southern Water and took two years to complete
  • The land was acquired and farmers relocated their properties and stock. Some homes such as Dunsters Mill were relocated whilst others were moved to Cousley Wood and to the Weald and Downland Museum at Singleton. Eleven buildings and several lanes are now under the water
  • The reservoir was formed by damming the valley through which the River Bewl, a tributary of the River Teise, runs
  • It was then filled with more than 31,300 million litres of water over 770 acres
  • The valley was chosen because there were no major transport links to disrupt and the soil is less permeable clay
  • The 30-metre high, 1,800-metre long dam cost £11million to build and has pipes running underneath that allow the River Bewl to continue to flow
  • During the winter months Bewl is filled with local rainwater running off the surrounding hills and pumped river water from the Teise at Goudhurst, the Medway at Yalding and Darwell Reservoir near Hastings
  • The reservoir supplies the Medway towns, Thanet and Hastings, providing a key source of drinking water in the south east

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