The main focus of this walk is Bewl Water, the largest area of open inland water in south-east England. Covering 770 acres and containing almost 7,000 million gallons of water when full, it was constructed between 1972 and 1975. The 15-mile shoreline is encircled by a 13-mile perimeter path which we will be sampling on this walk, starting and finishing at the small settlement of Three Leg Cross to the south of the reservoir. Bewl Water provides an important wildfowl habitat and the water authority have set aside a designated 127-acre site as a nature reserve, though, sadly, the public are excluded from this protected area.
1. From the pub, start the walk along Borders Lane which passes to the left of the pub and heads generally westwards between high hedges. At a road junction turn right and, at a second junction, go right again, now on a signed no through road.
2. Beyond two gates in quick succession, the road feeds into the Round Bewl Water Path. This well-surfaced path is open to equestrians and cyclists, as well as walkers, so some care is needed to avoid clashes, though pedestrians do, in theory, have priority of access at pinch-points. The path meanders round an inlet and then heads down beside a second minor creek.
3. Just short of a gate, where the main Round Bewl Water Path is signed ahead, you should turn left along a narrower path which is a permissive pedestrian route, not marked on the Explorer Map. It is overgrown at first but then comes out into the open to round a headland with an expanding view along Bewl Water to the reservoir dam and the water draw-off and overflow towers, and across to the Bewl Water Visitor Centre. As you round another corner and, after passing through a small wooded area, a new view unfolds along Bewl Straight towards the far eastern end of the reservoir.
4. Beyond a stile beside a gate, the main Bewl Water path rejoins from the right and you can go ahead along it, now shaded by trees. The path joins the end of a road which once crossed the valley but now disappears into the water. Turn right for a few yards, then just past a barrier, turn left continuing along the Round Bewl Water Path. Follow this delightful path as, partly out in the open, partly shaded by trees, it rounds another headland and continues along the side of an inlet.
5. After another half a mile or so, turn right along a signed path which passes between tree-lined banks and may be muddy as it doubles as a small stream at times. At a path junction, turn left, still between banks. Follow this path out to a lane where you should turn right for about a quarter of a mile back to Three Leg Cross. At a road junction turn left for a few yards back to the start.
Pashley Manor Gardens
Pashley Manor Gardens are on the B2099 about a mile south-east of Ticehurst. Described on its website as a 'quintessential English garden'. The house is not open to the public but the gardens are open April to September from 11 am to 5 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Bank Holiday Mondays. Telephone: 01580 200888
The starting point is The Bull Inn at Three Leg Cross, near Ticehurst. Patrons may park in the pub car park with prior permission. Limited roadside parking near the pub. The village of Ticehurst is on the B2099 road linking Wadhurst with the A21 at Flimwell. Three Leg Cross is signposted northwards along a lane from the B2099 at the western end of the village.