Deadline extended for community buyout of moorland to expand new nature reserve in Dumfries and Galloway

The deadline for a community nature restoration group to raise the cash needed to buy up a large swathe of land in Dumfries and Galloway has been extended.

The Langholm Initiative, which has established the new Tarras Valley Nature Reserve on a chunk of land purchased for the community from Buccleuch Estates, is battling to raise £2.2 million to buy a further 5,300 acres of Langholm Moor from the landowner – a move that would double the size of the reserve.

The extension has been agreed as the charity faced a potential shortfall of £450,000 by the original closing date of May 31.

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Now the group has two more months to raise the funds. The community group has welcomed the extension.

“This timely support from Buccleuch gives us breathing space to ensure our landmark project for people and planet doesn’t fall at the final hurdle,” said Jenny Barlow, Tarras Valley Nature Reserve’s estate manager.

“It highlights the value of the positive working relationship we’ve developed over the past few years.

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“Despite the wonderful outpouring of support from people worldwide, there was a real risk we might have been some £450,000 short on deadline day, putting at risk our ambitious plans for tackling the nature and climate emergencies while boosting community regeneration.

Short-eared owls are among the wildlife found at the newly established Tarras Valley Nature Reserve in Dumfries and Galloway, set up following a community buyout of land from Buccleuch Estates. Picture: John Wright

“We now need all the support possible to get this historic buyout over the line and safeguard this land for future generations.”

Tarras Valley Nature Reserve was established last year, following the successful first stage in south Scotland’s biggest community land buyout.

The purchase saw locals raise £3.8m to buy 5,200 acres and six residential properties from Buccleuch in March 2021.

The site is home to globally important peatlands, ancient woodlands and wildlife such as hen harrier, short-eared owl and merlin.

Langholm Moor, in Dumfries and Galloway, is at the centre of the biggest community land buyout in southern Scotland. Picture: Tom Hutton

The latest crowdfunder has almost reached its initial target of raising at least £150,000 towards the £2.2m needed to secure the second part of the site.

Borders Forest Trust, John Muir Trust, Rewilding Britain, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Trees for Life and the Woodland Trust are supporting the buyout.

Donations can be made at bit.ly/LangholmMoorAppeal.

Benny Higgins, executive chairman at Buccleuch, said: “We hope this additional time will help them in their quest to double the size of Tarras Valley Nature Reserve and build on the success achieved so far.”

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