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Second phase of moor buyout launches

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By Fiona Reid
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Second phase of moor buyout launches

LANGHOLM Initiative this week launched a bid to raise £2.2 million for the second phase of a land buyout.

They want to buy 5300 acres of Langholm Moor and three residential properties from Buccleuch to double the size of their Tarras Valley Nature Reserve to 10,500 acres.

Tarras estate manager Jenny Barlow said: “We’re aiming to repeat the impossible and open a new chapter in this inspiring story of hope and community by doubling the size of Tarras Valley Nature Reserve – and so doubling the benefits for people, nature and climate.”

The nature reserve was created earlier this year after the community’s historic purchase of a similar-sized swathe of land from Buccleuch.

There is now a race against time to secure the additional 5300 acres as Buccleuch’s offer of keeping the land off the open market is time limited, and the community needs to raise the funds by next May.

A public crowdfunder has been set up on Go Fund Me and they hope to raise at least £150,000 of the total. Grant applications are also being made and the plan has already been kickstarted by a £500,000 pledge from a private donor.

Jenny added: “We need all the help we can get to achieve a big win for wildlife, climate action and community regeneration – and a legacy for future generations. Scotland is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries and it desperately needs projects like this.

“But the pressure is on. This is the last opportunity to bring this land into community ownership. If the land goes onto the open market, its price will probably surge beyond our reach – with the risk it will be bought by corporate investment firms, which are currently banking large amounts of land in the area.”

Commenting on the latest plan, Benny Higgins, Buccleuch’s executive chairman, said: “We were delighted that The Langholm Initiative was able to purchase the initial area from Buccleuch last year, having shown such tenacity and vision. Having reached agreement on timeline and value, we wish them every success with this next exciting phase, both for the initiative and the community.”

The first phase of the community buyout in 2021 ended in success following one of the most ambitious community fundraising campaigns ever seen and the support of thousands of people worldwide.

The Langholm Initiative and Buccleuch reached a landmark agreement of £3.8 million for 5200 acres of land and six residential properties last October, with the funding target only reached in the final 48 hours.

The community took ownership of the land in March and are busy restoring peatlands and ancient woods, establishing native woodlands and creating a haven for wildlife.

They want to develop renewable energy sources and nature-based tourism.

A video about the new appeal can be viewed on YouTube at bit.ly/LangholmVideo, and more information can be found at langholminitiative.org.uk, while the fundraiser is at bit.ly/LangholmMoorAppeal

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