Reservoirs

Our reservoirs offer a range of facilities from walking and biking to sailing and bird watching.

We operate four key reservoirs across the South East which store vital drinking water supplies. Some also have public access – read more about the reservoirs below.

Bewl Water is the largest stretch of open water in South East England and a key source of drinking water for East Sussex and Kent.

It is set in 800 acres of beautiful scenery near Lamberhurst, in Kent, and attracts many thousands of visitors a year.

It can hold more than 31,000 million litres of water – enough to provide an average day’s water usage (about 150 litres) to nearly 200 million people.

Leisure

There is a wide range of leisure and recreational facilities, including fishing, cycling and sailing, at the reservoir, and also a visitor centre, conference venue and restaurant by the shoreline.

These are run independently of Southern Water.

Parking is available for visitors during opening hours. For more information on the events and attractions go to www.bewlwater.co.uk.

Weir Wood Reservoir, near East Grinstead, in West Sussex, has a number of activities including sailing which is organised through Weir Wood Sailing Club.

The Millennium Walk footpath runs from the water treatment works at the reservoir and joins a public footpath along the fence line, with a picnic site offering spectacular views across the water about one kilometre west of the works. 

Parking is available – marked in red on our map of Weir Wood Reservoir – for access to the Millennium Walk footpath only. Please note this is an operational site and is in use by staff 24 hours a day.

Darwell Reservoir, near Battle, in East Sussex, has public rights of way through the woodland that surrounds the site.

There is no public car park available at Darwell.

Powdermill Reservoir, near Battle, in East Sussex, is used by Hastings Fly Fishers Club

The car park at Powdermill is leased to the club for use by those using the fishing facilities only.

See a map of Powdermill Reservoir.

Although it is banned, people are often tempted to swim in reservoirs without realising the harmful effects that the cold water has on their stamina and strength.

While they may be lovely places to enjoy nature and the environment, please remember never to swim in reservoirs.

Statistics from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) show that drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death among the under 16s.

RoSPA reports that young people who drown are often victims of their own misjudgement of their swimming ability.

Remember

Spot the dangers 

Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. Learn to spot and keep away from dangers.

You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold outdoor water.

 

Take safety advice

Special flags and notices may warn you of danger. Learn what the signs mean, look out for them and do what they tell you.

 

Don't go alone

Children should always go with an adult, not by themselves.

An adult can point out dangers or help if somebody gets into trouble.

 

Learn how to help

You may be able to help yourself and others if you know what to do in an emergency.

 

At the beach

You also need to stay safe in the sea. We have an extensive coastline in our region and all 83 beaches in our region meet strict water quality standards, boasting among the best quality bathing water in Europe.

  • Red and yellow flags show a designated bathing area with lifeguards on patrol
  • Always bathe between the flags
  • A quartered black and white flag indicates an area zoned for windsurfers and canoeists that is not safe for swimmers
  • The red flag means it is dangerous to bathe and you should not go into the water.

Remember, even if you are a good swimmer in a heated indoor pool, it doesn't mean you will be able to swim as well in outdoor water.

Learn to swim

You can help today's youngsters enjoy water safely by enrolling them on our Learn to Swim scheme, which teaches more than 35,000 children to swim each year.

Aimed at four to 12-year-olds, every child is taught by an Amateur Swimming Association qualified instructor at one of 92 centres across our region. Find out more information about the Learn to Swim scheme.

Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. Learn to spot and keep away from dangers.

You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold outdoor water.