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A Community Land Buyout Is Set To Double In Size

The reserve aims to help tackle the nature and climate crises, while boosting community regeneration.

A community land buyout is set to double in size.

The size of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway, located in the United Kingdom, created last year, will double following a community fundraising campaign.

A historic agreement for 5,300 acres of land and three properties between The Langholm Initiative charity and Buccleuch will now go ahead, after the town of Langholm successfully reached its goal of $2.6 million by July 31.

The buyout’s first stage raised $4.5 million to purchase an initial 5,200 acres and six residential properties from land business Buccleuch, linked to an aristocratic family.

Jenny Barlow poses in an undated photo. A historic agreement for 5,300 acres of land and three properties between The Langholm Initiative charity and Buccleuch will now go ahead, after the town of Langholm successfully reached its goal of $2.6 million by July 31. (The Langholm Initiative,SWNS/Zenger)

The reserve aims to help tackle the nature and climate crises, while boosting community regeneration.

There were significant donations of 300,000 British pounds ($360,000) from Alex Gerko, founder of algorithmic trading firm XTX Markets, 100,000 pounds ($120,000) from Anne Reece of the Reece Foundation, and 50,000 pounds ($60,000) from John Muir Trust.

Jenny Barlow, Tarras Valley Nature Reserve’s Estate Manager, said: “We are so grateful to every single person who has backed this beacon of hope for people and the planet – together we have achieved the impossible.

“It’s been a rollercoaster, but the generosity and unwavering support of so many wonderful donors and volunteers have got us over the line in the nick of time.

“This is about a grassroots fightback against the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, and helping to create a better future.

“We are doing something so special here, and our expanding reserve is an amazing opportunity for people to visit this part of the world and be inspired by the wonders of nature.”

Benny Higgins, Executive Chairman of Buccleuch, said: “We are absolutely delighted for The Langholm Initiative and have been pleased to work with them and support their project every step of the way.

“This successful outcome is testament to what can be achieved by people working together constructively.

“When Buccleuch launched its community consultation on the proposed sale of 25,000 acres of land on Langholm Moor, we couldn’t know what the community’s aspirations would be.

“To see The Langholm Initiative grow the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve from the initial 5,200 acres to almost double that is fantastic, and we look forward to seeing the evolution of the project over the coming years.”

On the reserve, globally important peatlands and ancient woods are to be restored, native woodlands expanded, and a haven ensured for wildlife including rare hen harriers.

Community regeneration through a nature-based approach is a central aim, with six new jobs already created.

Langholm was once a thriving textile center, but the industry has declined in recent years.

In June, the Scottish Land Fund awarded The Langholm Initiative 1 million pounds ($1.2 million) toward the buyout, while an anonymous private donor made a donation of 500,000 pounds ($600,000) at the appeal’s launch last October.

Nearly 3,000 people have donated to the crowdfunder since it launched nine months ago, taking it past its 200,000 pounds ($240,700) stretch target to reach over 242,000 pounds ($291,000).

Margaret Pool, Trustee of The Langholm Initiative, said: “The generosity of so many people locally, nationally and worldwide has been amazing.

“Our heartfelt thanks go to every donor, supporter and volunteer who helped us overcome what so often felt like impossible odds.

“We are also very grateful to Buccleuch for their ongoing positive engagement, which was absolutely crucial.

Black Grouse pictured in an undated photo. A historic agreement for 5,300 acres of land and three properties between The Langholm Initiative charity and Buccleuch will now go ahead, after the town of Langholm successfully reached its goal of $2.6 million by July 31.(The Langholm Initiative,SWNS/Zenger)

“Every single pound donated to the crowdfunder counted.

“Each donation kept this impossible dream alive, while major donors could see from the outpouring of support that this was an inspiring, serious project of hope.

“This is a historic result for our community now and for future generations.

“We also hope our story will inspire other community-led nature recovery projects across Scotland and beyond.

“We know that communities can be powerful forces for positive change.”

Buccleuch has supported the community bid, agreeing with The Langholm Initiative a fixed purchase price in 2019 and extending purchase deadlines to give more time for fundraising.

The purchase will be legally finalized between the community and Buccleuch over the coming months.

Produced in association with SWNS.

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