£1 million award ‘major game-changer’ for South Scotland’s biggest community buy-out at Langholm

Press release from the Langholm Initiative (9th June 2022):

£1 million award ‘major-game-changer’ for South Scotland’s biggest community buy-out

The Scottish Land Fund has awarded the Langholm Initiative charity £1 million in a “major game-changer” for South Scotland’s biggest ever community buyout.

The town of Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway aims to raise £2.2m by July to purchase 5,300 acres of Langholm Moor from Buccleuch, and so double the size of the new community-owned Tarras Valley Nature Reserve.

[Tarras Valley Nature Reserve. Photo by Ruth Tingay]

Success would allow the community to put into action ambitious plans for tackling the nature and climate emergencies while boosting community regeneration.

With the clock seriously ticking if we are to achieve this once-in-a-lifetime community purchase, this award from the Scottish Land Fund is a major game-changer. It has really turned the tide in our favour, and we are hugely grateful,” said Jenny Barlow, Tarras Valley Nature Reserve’s Estate Manager.

Thanks to other generous donations, including from thousands of people from all over the world to our public crowdfunder, we are now just £450,000 shy of reaching our overall target. We’re going to work tirelessly to make this happen.” 

A new stretch target of £200,000 for the buyout’s public crowdfunder has now been set, after donations recently surged past its initial target of raising £150,000 towards the purchase. The crowdfunder can be supported at bit.ly/LangholmMoorAppeal.

The ambitious scale of the buyout has meant that it has at times seemed at risk. Last month an agreement was reached between the community and Buccleuch to extend the purchase deadline by two months until 31 July, to allow more time to raise funds from major donors.

The Tarras Valley Nature Reserve was established last year, following the successful first stage of the community buyout. This saw the community defy the odds to raise £3.8 million to buy 5,200 acres and six residential properties from Buccleuchin March 2021.

On the reserve, globally important peatlands and ancient woods are being restored, native woodlands established, and a haven ensured for wildlife including hen harrier, short-eared owl and merlin.

[Short-eared owl photographed at Tarras Valley Nature Reserve by John Wright]

Community regeneration and creating new jobs through a nature-based approach is a central aim of the project. Langholm was once a thriving textile centre, but the industry has declined in recent years.

Leading charities backing the buyout include Borders Forest Trust, John Muir Trust, Rewilding Britain, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Trees for Life, and the Woodland Trust.

ENDS

9 thoughts on “£1 million award ‘major game-changer’ for South Scotland’s biggest community buy-out at Langholm”

  1. What excellent news to start the day with. Much good work is being done in the borders and, if successful, this will be another much needed Carrifran.
    There is still a long way to go to raise the remaining amount and I would urge anybody who has yet to donate to consider doing so. Seeing restoration on this scale gladdens the heart and you will never regret being a small part of it.

  2. A good news story for a change. Hopefully this sets a precedent for more buyouts and the restoration of the land for both wildlife, the local community and tourism. Hopefully the days of grouse moor killing are numbered

  3. What wonderful news for a change to start the day.
    It will be so beneficial to both the environment and the wildlife.
    Many congratulations to the Langholm Initiative and many thanks to the Scottish Land Fund for such a generous donation.

  4. Perhaps Buccleuchin could do the decent thing and not be greedy? I will lay odds they paid the square root of very little for the land in the first place.

    1. Fully agree. It is a travesty that massive amounts of money are having to be raised in order that this land can achieve its true natural potential.

      1. Exactly – would highly recommend the first chapter of John Byers book on Liddesdale , which is backed up by other writings by locals who dared to risk the consequences of speaking out to tell other than the —-approved version of the history of the local area, detailing how Buccleuch gained ownership of the land.

  5. Ruth – can you e-mail me a contact. I have received a letter from DEFRA which you may be interested in reading?

    [Ed: dimlylit100[AT]hotmail.com]

  6. This is fantastic news and it’s a bit of fresh air to have nature conservation and rewilding being embraced by a local community rather than seeing supposed reps of it try to tarnish it as a threat to local people, all due to a not so hidden agenda. Best of luck Langholm.

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