Building a sustainable future

WATER WELFARE: Head Ranger Dan Baker

Bewl Water, an expansive 800-acre reservoir in Lamberhurst, is celebrating its ongoing journey towards long-term sustainability and conservation, a commitment propelled by the dedication of Head Ranger Dan Baker.

With more than two decades of service, Dan and his team have played a pivotal role in driving forward Bewl Water’s progress in environmental protection and enhancing visitor experiences.

Located on the border of Kent and Sussex, the reservoir is the largest in southeast England and allocates over £1.3 million annually to continually elevate and uphold the quality of its grounds.

In the spirit of sustainable practices, Dan and his team have embraced innovative solutions, including the use of solar-powered sonic wave emitters.

These eco-friendly devices, strategically positioned around the reservoir, have proven remarkably effective in curbing the growth of toxic blue-green algae, providing a safe haven for wildlife and livestock, without resorting to harmful chemicals.

Other ongoing initiatives include shoaling measures to boost native fish populations and the annual mowing of grasslands to cultivate wildflowers. These vibrant blooms serve as crucial havens for a variety of birds, insects, and animals, nurturing a thriving ecosystem.

Additionally, the creation of a dedicated bird hide and nature reserve safeguards the estate’s endangered species.

“We believe in a hands-on approach that respects and values nature’s way of doing things. Our strategy is all about giving nature the space it needs to thrive, while still offering a helping hand when necessary to enhance positive results,” Dan explained.

Bewl Water’s dedication extends beyond preserving wildlife. With an impressive annual visitor count of over 140,000, the reservoir invests consistently in its facilities to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Over the next few years, the focus will be on connecting people with nature. Projects include creating a network of safe paths, rides, and access points, enhancing the reservoir’s circular walk, and maintaining signs, entrances, benches, and paths to provide a welcoming experience.

Recently, Dan instructed tree surveys to assess the health and safety of the extensive ancient semi-natural woodlands at Bewl Water. He explained that the findings will inform proper management strategies, ensuring the preservation and well-being of the trees for years to come.

The team have also started a three-week project to improve the bridleway, enhancing drainage conditions for hikers and cyclists.

As Dan explained: “Maintaining the grounds is absolutely crucial for our visitors to have an incredible time here, but also ensure their safety. Bewl Water has been a cherished destination for locals and tourists for almost 50 years and we take great pride in preserving its natural beauty.”

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