AN INITIATIVE to create a vast new nature reserve in Dumfries and Galloway through is being launched today.
The £3 million crowdfunding campaign aims to help purchase 10,500 acres of Langholm Moor.
Proposed by The Langholm Initiative, the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, hopes to purchase wild-life rich and and culturally important land from Buccleuch Estates.
The project received a huge boost after the John Muir Trust announced it is donating £100,000 to kickstart the appeal.
The crowdfunder, launched today, aims to raise just over half of the £6m valuation on the land.
Kevin Cumming, the Langholm Initiative’s project leader, said: “Our community plans here have international significance.
“At a time of climate emergency, we are committing to undertake direct climate action – including restoration of globally precious peatlands and ancient woodlands, alongside the creation of new native woodlands.
“Langholm moor is home to a host of iconic wildlife such as black grouse, Short-eared owls and merlin, and is a stronghold for hen harriers – the most persecuted bird of prey in the UK.
“At this critical stage we are asking for the help of the public. We know it’s a big ask at a time like this – but if people can support us by donating to this project we will be ensuring a more positive future for our children.”
Langholm, a once thriving textile centre, has seen this industry decline in recent years.
The people of this small town, nestled in the beautiful and dramatic Southern Uplands, have a deep connection to the land, which has never been sold before.
It is hoped that through community land ownership and the creation of a nature reserve, a foundation can be laid for local regeneration, supporting eco-tourism and bringing visitors to the area.
Mike Daniels from the John Muir Trust said: “We are extremely excited about this project. Its ambition and vision is what has attracted us to it and today we are pledging £100K to support the community’s purchase of the land.
“The protection and restoration of wild places and the regeneration of rural communities goes hand in hand and we are delighted to support this inspiring initiative. We call on other organisations to follow our lead and support the Langholm Initiative.”
Kevin Cumming added: “We are extremely grateful to the John Muir Trust for their support. It is the highest compliment for them to offer a significant financial pledge and demonstrates great confidence in the project.”