Menu
 
Home | News | Nature wins in £6m sale of special moor
 
News | 30th April 2020
 

Nature wins in £6m sale of special moor

 
 
 

A PRICE tag of £6m has been put on more than 10,000 acres of land in Langholm being sold by Buccleuch.

The company has agreed a deal with the Langholm Initiative to buy the land for the community.

If it goes ahead, it will be the biggest community buy-out in southern Scotland and will have a massive impact on the town’s ability to determine its own future.

The 10,500 acres includes nine residential properties.

The plan will be the first in which a community positions the environment and climate change at the heart of the decisions it makes.

The central aspect of the plan is the creation of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, which will deliver community regeneration, climate change action, ecological restoration, wildlife conservation and develop outdoor tourism.

The ambition has met widespread support. Both locally and nationally 23 organisations have written letters of support.

Cross-party political support from MSPs Oliver Mundell, Conservative; Colin Smyth, Labour; and Joan McAlpine, SNP, has been shown as well as support from the John Muir Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB Scotland, Woodland Trust, Forest and Land Scotland and Borders Forest Trust.

The Moor’s cultural importance is celebrated annually by the Common Riding which marks the boundaries of the historic common land.

The land has national and international natural heritage, being both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area for breeding hen harriers, the most persecuted bird of prey in the UK.

Kevin Cumming, project leader, said: “This is one of the most important and forward-thinking community plans in the UK.

“We’re in a climate emergency and the decisions we make now will have a massive impact on future generations.

“We have worked extremely hard for six months to get to this stage of the process. It has been a positive experience working with Buccleuch and we’re excited to try and get the buyout over the line.”

Some of the other plans include planting nearly 500 acres of native woodland, peatland restoration work, developing modern business units and creating an eco-campsite.

Last month the Initiative applied to the Scottish Land Fund for £3m and approached South of Scotland Enterprise to support the purchase.

Kevin added: “Southern 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 such as an ageing 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 Initiative is also pursuing other sources of funding.

Kevin said: “This project extends beyond the community because of its positive climate action.

“We raised £8,000 in eight days through a crowd-funder to help us undertake our investigations into community ownership.

“These donations came from all over the world. It’s rare that we, as individuals, have the opportunity to make a difference on this scale and we hope people will support us.”

A Buccleuch spokesperson said: “We’ve worked closely with the Initiative on 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.”

Gavin Graham, chairman of Langholm Walks, said: “I have just spent an hour on the moor watching two male hen harriers hunting.

“It is the best place in mainland UK to watch these beautiful birds.

“Buying the moor is so important for the future of these beautiful birds and will, if properly managed as I am sure it will, be a magnet for people looking for wildlife experiences in such beautiful countryside.

“Given time, Langholm can become a major destination for wildlife enthusiasts and an education centre for young people to learn about the habitat we have on our doorstep.”

Roger Maxwell, Langholm Common Riding chairman, said it was “excellent news” for the community at a very difficult time for everyone.

He added: “It will be a great asset to the community. I’ve been up there a lot lately with the lockdown and when you look over the back of Whita, it’s a great area.

“It’s so wild and has so much wildlife. We’re very lucky to have that as an asset.

“From the Common Riding point of view, it will be great to see it back in community hands.”

Margaret Pool, Initiative chairwoman, said they were due to hold a big fundraiser with entrepreneurs in London last weekend but it had been cancelled.

“We’re going to start a crowdfunder on Facebook next week and hope that will kick off things. It will give us an indication of the support out there.”

Membership of the Langholm Initiative has soared to about 600 as a result of the bid to buy the land.

Margaret added: “That increase bodes well and now the press release has gone national, we may see membership numbers explode. People from as far as Devon, Cornwall, northern Scotland and Ireland have joined.”

Chris Miles is chairman of the board of trustees at the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland and is the county recorder for Dumfriesshire. He runs the Dumfriesshire Botany Group.

He said: “This is great news and, for someone interested in nature, it’s very exciting. I’m sure the community will want to put nature at the heart of their plans for the moorland.

“That is because the moorland will do more for the community in the future by being rich in nature which will attract visitors to the town.

“With restored and restructured habitats for nature, it will play a bigger role in adapting to climate change, storing more carbon and managing the flow of water.”

Colin Smyth, South Scotland Labour MSP and its rural economy spokesperson, says the government must throw its support behind the plan.

He said: “This really would bring significant benefits to the Eskdale community and its economy.

“It would open up opportunities for eco-tourism and boost the environment by better promoting and protecting a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

“The positive difference, which community ownership has made in other parts of our region in terms of jobs and opening up access, is there for all to see and we would see those same benefits if Buccleuch facilitated the ultimate transfer to the community.”

 
 
Would you like to support us?

The Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser is our community owned local newspaper and even in today’s troubled times, we aim to bring you local news and articles in an impartial, responsible and factual way.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this free article but we need your support so we can keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent and keeps you up to date with what is happening in Eskdale and Liddesdale.

Every reader’s contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to us.
 
 
‘Owned by the Community...Published for the Community’
Do you have a story?

Please get in touch if you have a story or article you would like to see published.

Related Articles

Flood Scheme Forum

RESIDENTS living in riverside properties in Langholm have voiced their…

 

Langholm Loves Local launched

LANGHOLM is bouncing back with a new initiative to make…

 

New coronavirus rules will not help industry

Hotel owner criticises Scottish government for unclear message

 

Pandemic infects iconic retail brand

More unemployment as Day puts EWM Group in administration

 

Villagers welcome a 20mph limit trial

Newcastleton’s streets will be safer for pedestrians and drivers

 

EWM TO CLOSE 200 STORES IN NEXT FORTNIGHT

24,000 Jobs are at risk

 

Village sewage works due to open next spring

Canonbie and the River Esk will benefit from better treatment

 

Housing developer is ready to move onto site

Plan put in for initial works, including improved A7 junction

 

Rescued mill has new name and big plans

Drove Weavers in Langholm earns praise and admiration from MSP

 

Digital skills project is launched in Langholm

Older people, young people and low-income families targeted

 

Flood protection order delayed by fresh study

Environmental impact assessment will take six months to do

 

Team appointed to regenerate Copshaw

Development officer to lead transformation of Buccleuch House

 

Four more defibrillators go live

FOUR more defibrillators have been installed as part of a…

 

Centre design rethink after public response

And council calls for extra study after identifying flood risk

 

Village completes historic land buy-out

Newcastleton trust buys 750 acres of Holm Hill from Buccleuch

 

Scottish actor appeals for donations to moor

Gregor has good memories of raising his family in Langholm

 

Dyehouse cuts ten jobs as orders dry up

COVID-19 pandemic hits successful company’s customers

 

Plan launched to make south a greater place

Enterprise body to make area centre for opportunity, innovation and…

 

Volunteers needed to drive community car

New Caddy will be used to transport residents to appointments

 

Another million given to moorland buyout

South of Scotland Enterprise give huge boost to venture

 

Centre bids for funding to survive the long term

Langholm’s popular performing arts venue is vital to economy

 

Academy’s head pupils

LANGHOLM and Canonbie Schools Cluster is delighted to announce the…

 

Church reopens for worship

By the Rev Dr. Robert Pickles

 

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

Artists impression of how proposed flood defences may look

 

£500k boost for moor

Family foundation breathes new life into bid for nature reserve

 

Langholm’s last mill has a brighter future

Well-known designer will create jobs and establish new brand

 

Nicol’s enterprising role to regenerate town

Former Langholm man will deliver Langholm’s action plan

 

Dance scholar rewarded

A PERFORMING arts student from Langholm has won a coveted…

 

Centre announces an August reopening

Coffees and lunches are back on the menu – at…

 

Canonbie surgery

A CONFIDENTIAL online consultation service giving patients another way to…

 

Town is a high priority

Langholm does not rank the lowest in an index based…

 

MARVELLOUS!

IT WAS dark when three horsemen were greeted by a…

 

Neighbourly celebrations

MOODLAW Point and Henry Street South neighbours gathered on Jennety’s…

 

Neighbourly celebrations

THE neighbours in Academy Place and Douglas Terrace could not…

 

Partnership secures £2.1m for the south

Scottish government awards funding to 28 innovative projects

 

Jobless warning

JUNE’S unemployment figures are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’…

 

Weaving company’s future in the balance

Management buy-out team seeks to progress talks with owner

 

Defibs are going live

Life-saving equipment will come with full instructions on use

 

Helping to ease the burden

By the Rev Scott McCarthy, minister of Garthamlock and Craigend…

 

Mill’s billionaire owner crippling suppliers, claim

But EWM says it has reached agreements with nearly all…

 
Surgery Tour 2020
 
requires mailchimp logins and wired up to a list
Join our mailing list
Keep up to date with all that’s going on at the E&L
This site uses cookies.
Configure
 
Read our privacy policy

This site uses cookies for marketing, personalisation, and analysis purposes. You can opt out of this at any time or view our full privacy policy for more information.