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Donation boost for moorland expansion dream

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By Newsdesk
Annan and Eskdale
Donation boost for moorland expansion dream

THE Langholm Initiative has got its bid to double the size of its Tarras Valley nature reserve off to a flying start after a £500,000 private donation towards its £2.2m target.

Between the anonymous donor and £54,000 pledged already through a public crowdfunder, it is already a quarter of the way towards the amount it needs for the second stage of its community buyout of Langholm Moor.

The community group is looking to buy a further 5300 acres, including two residential buildings and a derelict farmhouse with development potential, from Buccleuch Estates, increasing the total size of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve to 10,500 acres.

The first stage buyout was completed in March this year after the group raised £3.8m to purchase 5200 acres. Now it has until May to raise the extra cash.

The initiative’s development manager Angela Williams said: “We are really pleased with how the crowdfunder’s going. That’s over a third of our £150,000 aim for the public crowdfunder so far.

“We are bidding to the Scottish Land Fund to see if we can secure funding from them as well and we have various other individuals and private trusts as well that we’re in the process of approaching, so we’re always hopeful that we’re going to make that target.

“This second stage buyout will give us an additional 5300 acres of land – it means we will be doubling the size of the nature reserve and with that the scope for large-scale, landscape-scale ecological restoration. It means that we’ll be retaining more homes on the land and more development potential with regards to the buildings and other tourism-related activities.

“And it gives us a much greater area to be working on with volunteers and engaging the local community with the land – it’s already well used by them but we can develop that further.”

“We have agreed a deadline of the end of May with the Buccleuch Estate, they’ve agreed to hold the price until then. Hopefully the Scottish Land Fund application will go to their March meeting so that might give us a boost – each month we hope to have more of a feel as to whether the target is achievable.”

The campaign page says that raising the funds “means that the community will be able to restore this land into a wildlife rich haven, a vast legacy for future generations.”

The Initiative is also looking to create “nature-based tourism opportunities” and help fight the “nature and climate emergencies”.


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