Community bid to turn Scottish moor in to nature reserve

A small community in Scotland that launched a bid to bring 10,500 acres of land (about 5,600 football pitches) into community ownership so to create a nature reserve has raised around £3.1 million to date.

The Langholm Initiative launched a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year to purchase part of Langholm Moor from Buccleuch Estates, which would be the largest community buyout in the south of Scotland.

The creation of the new Tarras Valley Nature Reserve aims to tackle climate breakdown, boost nature restoration and support community regeneration.

Peatlands and ancient woods would be restored, native woodlands established, and a haven provided for the area’s remarkable wildlife – including hen harriers, the UK’s most persecuted bird of prey, as well as short-eared owls, black grouse, otters and wild goats.

The Langhom Initiative needs more than £6m to complete the purchase. It has already received funding from the Scottish Land Fund, South of Scotland Enterprise (Sose) and the John Muir Trust, bringing its funding total to £3.1 million – as a 31 October deadline looms.

The buyout has continued to receive wide support due to its vision of tackling climate change, restoring nature, and supporting community regeneration by bringing jobs and visitors to the area.

The Langholm Initiative charity aims to buy 10,500 acres of moorland jointly valued at £6.4m, from Buccleuch Estates to create the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve.

The charity and Buccleuch Estates also have an agreement for a smaller option, with the community purchasing around 5,200 acres of land, including six properties, jointly valued at £4.2m. Discussions are ongoing.

Kevin Cumming, the Langholm Initiative’s project leader said: “Our community plans here have international significance. At a time of climate emergency we are committing to undertake direct climate action including peatland restoration, ancient woodland restoration, the creation of new native woodlands and increasing the diversity of wildlife here”

“At this critical stage we are asking for the help of the public. We know it is a lot to ask at a time like this but if people can support us by donating to this project we will be demonstrating a more positive future for our children.”

To contribute to the fundraising campaign, visit Langhom Moor’s GoFundMe page

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. 

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