Boost for Bewl as new plans are unveiled

Paul Apps Benenden Hospital

Bewl Water is due for a major upgrade aimed at boosting local tourism after the latest investment plans were announced by its new owners this week.

Markerstudy Leisure acquired Bewl Water Country Park on January 8 and unveiled a raft of improvements aimed at boosting tourism to the reservoir.

Describing it as the ‘jewel in the crown’ for the local community, Andrew Daniells, chief operating officer of Markerstudy Leisure, said the ‘ambitious’ plans would give Bewl ‘the love and attention it deserves.’

Among the initiatives announced is the immediate reduction in parking charges from £8 to £2, alongside the complete refurbishment of the visitor centre and nearby sailing clubhouse.

Both are timetabled to be reopened by April. In addition, there are plans to make the 13-mile long path around the reservoir more accessible, with a new water taxi service enabling walkers and cyclists to tailor the length of their tours of the lake.

Fish stocks are due to be replenished to satisfy what the company believes is the growing number of fishermen returning to Bewl Water.

There will also be an upgrading of the current fleet of fishing boats to help facilitate this trend.

Mr Daniells said: “The feedback from existing users, such as the sailors, rowers and fishing fraternity, is that they all want to see it returned to its former glory, and are keen to work with us to make this happen.

“In conjunction with the local community and councils we are keen to transform the quality of the facilities and activities on offer as we deliver what will be a substantial investment in the site.”

Graham Wise, co-leader of Bewl Midweek Sailing Group, which has 100 members and sails all year round, said: “This is great news. We are confident under Markerstudy, which has a reputation for being closely involved in the local community, that sailing at Bewl will increase in popularity.

“They have seen the potential of Bewl and have taken the decision to invest.

“We have had a very positive meeting with the new owners and management team about their intentions and are reassured that they share our passion for sailing and for Bewl.

“The investments that are planned sound very promising and we will certainly be supporting them.”

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