Scottish community raises £3.1m to fund 10,500-acre nature reserve

October 26, 2020
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The Langholm Initiative needs a total of £6.4m to make the project a reality – and has until the end of October to raise the funds

Acommunity initiative to buy 10,500 acres of Langholm Moor in southern Scotland and turn it into a nature reserve has raised £3.1m – and has until the end of next month to raise a further £3.3m.

The Langholm Initiative, a local charity, hopes to purchase the land from Buccleuch Estates, in what would be the largest community-land buyout in the area.

The full cost of purchase is £6.4m with a smaller (5,200 acre) £4.2m option available. The group has hitherto raised £3.1m, including a grant of £1m from the Scottish Land Fund and £135,000 via a Go Fund Me campaign. The sale must be completed by the end of next month.

According to the proposals, the new Tarras Valley Nature Reserve will bring economic benefits to the community via restoration of natural habitats and increasing biodiversity on the moor, which is home to wildlife such as short-eared owls (pictured), hen harriers, black grouse, otters and wild goats.

“[We want to] restore globally precious peatlands and ancient woodlands [and] create new native woodlands,” said Kevin Cumming, the Langholm Initiative’s project leader.

“At this critical stage we are asking for the help of the public. We know it’s a big ask at a time like this – but if people can support us we will be ensuring a more positive future for our children.”

Mike Daniels, head of land management at conservation charity the John Muir Trust, which donated £100,000 towards the effort, said: “The protection and restoration of wild places and the regeneration of rural communities goes hand in hand.”

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