Press release – Langholm Initiative

First £1m secured for community’s dream of huge nature reserve 

Hen Harrier. Photo: John Wright

The Scottish Land Fund has awarded the Langholm Initiative charity £1 million towards the purchase of 10,500 acres of Langholm Moor in the south of Scotland, which would see the local community creating a vast new nature reserve.

The charity hopes to buy the wildlife-rich and culturally important land – jointly valued at £6 million – from Buccleuch Estates, in what would be southern Scotland’s largest community buyout.

The Scottish Land Fund’s £1 million offer is time limited – meaning the community faces the challenge of raising the rest of the funds for the land buyout by October this year.

“We very much appreciate the Scottish Land Fund’s £1 million award. It’s well below the £3 million we applied for, but we know these are difficult times. Because the award is time limited, we now have just months to raise the rest of the funds for the once-in-a lifetime purchase,” said Margaret Pool, chair of the Langholm Initiative.

“Langholm Moor holds huge cultural significance to local people, and we’re working tirelessly to bring this land into community ownership – as part of a groundbreaking project to tackle climate change, to boost nature restoration, and to support community regeneration.”

Success would see the creation of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, with globally important peatlands and ancient woods restored, new native woodlands established, and a vital haven ensured for iconic wildlife – including much-persecuted hen harriers. 

The Langholm Initiative is urging people to support its Go Fund Me crowdfunding appeal at In its first few weeks this has raised £85,000 from over 1,200 donors, with the John Muir Trust donating an additional £100,000.

Major funders are also being sought. Kevin Cumming, the Langholm Initiative’s Project Leader, said: “We’re keen to hear from people or organisations who can help us seize this unprecedented opportunity to create something truly special for our children and future generations.

“We’re also hugely grateful for the wonderful donations to our crowdfunder, which have shown such amazing support, and for the positive engagement from Buccleuch Estates.” 

The project has gained the backing of leading charities including Borders Forest Trust, John Muir Trust, Rewilding Britain, RSPB Scotland, Trees for Life, and The Woodland Trust.

To find out more and to support the appeal, visit

The Langholm Initiative was formed in 1994, as one of south Scotland’s earliest development trusts. It facilitates projects that make a lasting difference to the local area and local people.

Langholm Moor. Photo: Tom Hutton



4 Replies to “Press release – Langholm Initiative”

  1. £6.4 million is needed for the purchase of this estate. Previous blogs suggested that the LI needed to raise £3.4 million since they had applied to the SLT for £3 million. This indicated that they thought they had a good chance of obtaining this money.
    Whilst most funding that the SLT hands out are for smaller community projects well below £1million, a larger amount is not unheard of. SLT funded North West Mull Community Woodland Co to the tune of £4.4m to purchase the Isle of Ulva.
    This will be a huge blow to LI who now face a task that has probably never been done before for this sort of buyout. £5.4m in four months.
    It is so important that these community land purchases are successful, for so many reasons.
    I understand that there will be a piece on Border news tomorrow night. Hopefully that will help raise awareness.
    I have been assured that all donations will be refunded if the LI are unable to complete the funding. Therefore, if you haven’t already donated or are thinking of maybe donating again, you will not lose your money should the purchase not go ahead.
    Please dig deep.

  2. If the government is honest about the environment and the welbeing of local communities it will help this project succeed. It is so important, with far-reaching repercussions for nature, including a boost for the populations and improved distribution of iconic Scottish species, increased public engagement with the environment , and the enhanced welfare of small rural communities and cultures that a few million are a small price to play.

  3. If Mr Buccleugh only owns it because ‘the poor had no lawyers’, then he doesn’t deserve anything for returning it to the people, let alone £6m

    1. m parry – you tell him! He may take some persuading, funnily enough. Then he’d put up his firewood prices and I would go cold in the winter. It’s a complex world.

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