Scottish Village Comes Together to Buy Land from Duke for Nature Reserve

Ecotourism can help revitalize communities, create jobs, and provide sustainable opportunities to lose yourself in nature. One small Scottish village banded together in an effort to bring not just the industry to their area, but also to preserve thousands of acres of unique land in the process.

Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that Buccleuch Estates sold a large portion of Langholm Moor to the local community. The land is a famous grouse moor long held by the dukes of Buccleuch. The sale of about 5,000 acres cost £3.8 million. Community members plan to use the area as a nature reserve and community regeneration project. Tarras Valley, the planned reserve’s name, will help restore Langholm’s ancient peatlands and protect the area’s threatened hen harrier population.

Image of Langholm Moor

Kevin Cumming, the initiative’s project leader, said, “Community ownership can be a catalyst for regeneration, which we want to show can be done with the environment at its heart. We hope the success here will encourage and inspire other communities in Scotland and across the UK.”

An Effort Made Possible with Local Donations

The purchase came after a fundraising effort by the Langholm Initiative, which aims to improve the community. Its other projects have included efforts to promote sustainable tourism and educate young people about the environment and conservation.

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The initiative just barely squeaked by to meet its fundraising goal for the moor. Its deadline had been October 31st, and they got the final £200,000 the day before, thanks to a donation from forestry charity The Woodland Trust.

We are delighted to have reached our goal to purchase option B of Langholm Moor. Our sincere thanks to all the…

Posted by The Langholm Initiative onTuesday, November 3, 2020

This may not be all they purchase, though. The original goal had been to buy just under 10,400 acres. However, they weren’t able to reach the hefty price of £6 million by their deadline, which was when a £1 million government-funded grant was set to lapse. The estate says it’s still up for the possibility of selling the rest. The initiative will have to raise another £2.2 million for that to happen.

The initiative hopes to draw more residents and revitalize the community with the moorland regeneration, ecotourism, and rural industries it plans to fund. It also hopes that its reforestation and restoration projects will attract subsidies from programs that help fund climate change projects.

Hen harrier chick

A Greener Scotland

According to, the official consumer website of Scotland’s national tourist board, the country is home to more than 40 National Nature Reserves, as well as two national parks.

Scotland has also been working to combat climate change. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a climate emergency at the Scottish National Party’s spring conference last year. Also last year, the Scottish Parliament voted 113-0 to pass The Climate Change Bill. That would have the nation’s emissions off-set by 2045. It also has a target of a 75% reduction in 1990 levels of emissions by 2030.

Hen harrier in flight
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