NATURE restoration work at the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve was praised in the Scottish Parliament earlier this week.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth used a debate to pay tribute to the group’s work and efforts near Langholm.
The debate was focused on the loss of ancient woodlands in Scotland, and Mr Smyth called for support for initiatives such as Tarras and highlighted their collaboration with the Woodland Trust charity to restore and enhance native woodlands.
He also raised the work of the Langholm Initiative and their community buy-out of moorland, describing it as ‘a quiet land reform revolution’.
Mr Smyth said: “Against the odds, a bold fundraising effort launched by the Langholm Initiative put the town on the map, captured international attention and raised a remarkable £6 million from thousands of online crowdfunding donations from around the world and £1 million from the Scottish land fund.
“More than 5500 football pitches of the Duke of Buccleuch’s land came under the protection and ownership of the people who live and work that land, now known as the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve.
“The community owners, brilliantly led by estate manager Jenny Barlow and an amazing team of staff and volunteers, are pushing the boundaries of ecological and community restoration.
“They are improving the environment and seeking to build a better economic future by pursuing sustainable and responsible tourism.
“Their vision and plans for the moor are truly inspiring.
“With support from the Woodland Trust, they are restoring and expanding ancient woodland on the moor and mapping its magnificent trees so they can undertake work to give those trees more space and light to thrive.”
He added: “That work, along with the vision of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve Project, has really captured hearts across the world, and this Parliament and the Government must recognise and support it.”