Hope for Langholm

The Langholm Buyout – Imagine a rough, narrow river valley in the south of Scotland, opening to a broad heathery upland, a grouse moor for 200 years, now largely abandoned and for sale.

Now imagine the same land in community ownership, ten years hence under an environmentally sympathetic regime.  A wide mosaic of different habitats, broad leaved trees, the gradual restoration of birds and animals which last lived in the landscape hundreds of years ago.  Still plenty of heather and plenty of grouse but with all the other plants and creatures now absent coming back to take advantage of the restored, regenerating and varied countryside.  It’s what all of us interested in the prosperity of the natural world want to encourage.

Tarras valley regen from south, brown bracken in the foreground, green trees in the background with hills behind

The Borders Forest Trust started restoration 20 years ago in the south of Scotland. Since May last year, the town of Langholm (even further south than Moffat) has been pursuing a community buyout from the Buccleuch Estate with the ambition of turning the land on its doorstep into a large nature reserve and using it in ways that differ from the historic management of poor, upland ground in Scotland.  We want to benefit the town and the country.

All the information about the project and an outline business plan can be found online at langholminitiative.org.uk.  Major funders have already pledged over 3.1 million pounds towards 5,200 acres; 4.2 million is needed.  More than two and a half thousand people from all over the UK have contributed to the crowdfunder so far (//www.gofundme.com/f/langholm-moor-buyout). 

Borders Forest Trust has offered guidance and support from the very beginning. When John Thomas of BFT came on a tour of the land, he remarked of the current birch regeneration in the valley that “you’re halfway there already!”  At Langholm, we would have the beginnings of something wonderful if the purchase succeeds.  BFT is a shining example for us to follow and we are grateful to have your lead and advice.

The Scottish Land Fund has given the deadline of 31 October for all the funding to be in place.  This is rapidly approaching.  Discussions with major funders continue but every donation makes a difference. Please help to spread the word.

Alison Hutton, Langholm

John Thomas previously wrote a blog about how Borders Forest Trust have been involved with the Langholm Project so far, you can read it here.