The Langholm Initiative began investigating the possibility of community ownership after Buccleuch Estates announced its decision to sell 25,000 acres of the famous Langholm Moor in the Borders last year. Over 800 members of the local community signed a petition supporting the Langholm Initiative’s investigation into community ownership.
The group wants to create the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve on the land, which will deliver community regeneration, climate change action, ecological restoration, wildlife conservation and develop outdoor tourism.
The Langholm Initiative’s project leader, Kevin Cumming, said: “This is one of the most important and forward thinking community plans in the UK. We are in a climate emergency and the decisions we make now will have a massive impact on future generations.
“We have worked extremely hard over the past six months to get to this stage of the process. It has been a positive experience working with Buccleuch Estates and we are excited to try and get the buyout over the line.”
Some of the other plans the community hopes to take forward include the planting of nearly 500 acres of native woodland, peatland restoration work, the development of modern business units and the creation of an eco-campsite.
A joint valuation, undertaken by independent valuers working for each of the parties, estimates the value of the land to be just over £6 million. In March, the Langholm Initiative applied to the Scottish Land Fund for £3m towards the purchase. They have also approached the new South of Scotland Enterprise agency SoSE to support the purchase.
Mr Cumming added: “The south of Scotland lags far behind the Highland and Islands in the support it has received for community land ownership. This is despite facing many of the same issues as that part of Scotland such as aging population, youth migration and loss of industry.”
It is hoped the remaining money will be found through a large scale crowd funding campaign which is likely to kick off in May. The Langholm Initiative is also pursuing other sources of funding to finance the purchase.
A spokesperson for Buccleuch said: “We have been working closely with the Langholm Initiative in relation to the potential sale of land, including areas of Langholm Moor, and these are progressing well. We hope we will reach a positive conclusion before the end of this year.”
A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.