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Town’s woodland dreams to become a reality

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By Fiona Reid
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Town’s woodland dreams to become a reality

AN AWARD of over £170,000 means Moffat’s community dreams of taking over Gallow Hill are set to be realised later this year.

EXCITED . . . Peter Dreghorn, a long time supporter of the Gallow Hill take-over

The woodland area will be transferred into community ownership by the end of 2016 thanks to a funding grant from the newly re-launched Scottish Land Fund.

Moffat Community Woodlands group and Annandale Estates have been working tirelessly to see the land transferred and are both delighted that they now have the funds needed to purchase 33.4 hectares.

Welcoming the award, Tom Mulholland, chair of Moffat Community Woodlands said: “This grant will enable us to improve recreational opportunities for the people of Moffat, and visitors to the town.

“Ownership of Gallow Hill gives the community the opportunity to enhance the natural environment of the hill for future generations, including the town’s recently awarded Dark Sky status.”

He added: “Gallow Hill has a bright future and we are grateful for the support and hard work from so many people in Moffat and further afield which has got us to this stage.”

Mr Mulholland explained that the first priority after transfer of ownership will be drawing up and implementing a planting plan for a native woodland which meets with the approval of the Forestry Commission.

This will include a deer management strategy and assessments of other wildlife populations and ranges Commenting, David Johnstone, on behalf of Annandale Estates, said: “Annandale Estates is delighted to work with the people of Moffat for the transfer of Gallow Hill to the community.

“It is an unique area that the community have had access to for recreation for many years.

“We realised that when the current forestry crop was harvested, it presented a great opportunity to gauge the local interest in taking on the ownership. It has been a long but rewarding experience to see this come to fruition.”

Congratulating those involved, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “When you add this project to the recent award of Dark Skies status to Moffat following investment in dark sky friendly lighting, then you can see a local community actively working to improve their environment and boost the local economy.”

■ Anyone interested in being involved is asked to contact Tom Mulholland on 01683 221 191 or at [email protected].