In May this year it was announced that the Buccleuch Estate was to sell Langholm Moor in the Scottish Borders (see here).
Most of us know Langholm Moor as being the focus of two long-term studies over a period of 25 years aimed at understanding better the conflict between raptors and grouse moor management, although the project ended prematurely three years ago (see here) and we are still waiting to see the project’s final report.
A group of locals are now planning to facilitate a community land buy-out proposal to transform the knackered old grouse moor in to a species-rich nature reserve to benefit local people, nature conservation and tourism.
Calling themselves the Langholm Moor Working Group, these local community members are currently crowd-funding to raise £5,000 to help cover the costs of putting together a feasibility study, needed to agree on a fair price and to establish a sustainable case for community ownership. The group has secured match funding for anything it manages to raise via the crowd fund.
This feasibility study includes an independent valuation of the land, the development of a business plan, an appraisal of assets, liabilities and opportunities, and payment of legal fees. The group is looking at the development potential and income sources in relation to a visitor centre, business development, buildings assets, agriculture, woodland management and development, a nature reserve, renewable energy, culture and heritage and art and the environment.
The Langholm Moor Working Group has been in discussion with the Scottish Land Fund and Community Land Scotland about preparing a bid to purchase the Dumfries and Galloway side of the moorland. This area is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Area (SPA) for Hen Harriers. It also encompasses residential and farm properties.
Newcastleton District Community Trust is apparently preparing a separate complimentary proposal for the moorland on the Borders side.
The Scottish Land Fund has a two stage process, and to pass stage one the Langholm Moor Working Group needs to complete its feasibility study.
A fund-raising target of £5,000 seems remarkably good value for such an important opportunity. If you’re able to contribute a few quid to help this brilliant community take back ownership of this grouse moor and turn it in to a place of value for all, please support them by donating here.