Christmas has come early for the Muckle Toon community’s bid to double the size of its moorland Tarras Valley character save.
Thanks to an anonymous private donation of £500,000 and public crowdfunder donations surging past £50,000, Langholm Initiative has reached the quarter-way mark in its second race against time to buy land from Buccleuch Estates.
It needs to raise £2.2 million before May next year to obtain the additional 5,300 acres.
Jenny Barlow, Tarras Valley character save’s estate manager, said: “Reaching the quarter-way mark towards our £2.2 million target after just six weeks is a wonderful meaningful development for the community, and it really feels like Christmas has come early.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who has donated and supported us, and for the amazingly generous £500,000 donation. It’s put the wind in our sails as we approach the end of the year.
“But we have a long way to go, and we urgently need sustain from major funders.
“Buccleuch’s offer of keeping the land off the open market is time limited – so we need to raise the total funds by next May, or the chance of purchasing this emotional, culturally important land will be lost forever.”
If the land goes on the open market, it is feared the price will probably surge beyond the community’s reach.
And that could rule to it being bought by corporate investment firms, which are land banking in Scotland.
The buyout’s first phase ended in success following an ambitious fundraising campaign supported by thousands of people worldwide last year.
In October 2020, the Langholm Initiative and Buccleuch reached an agreement of £3.8 million for 5,200 acres of land and six residential similarities, which led to the creation of the Tarras Valley character save.
If successful with this second popularity, the charity would expand the Tarras Valley character save to 10,500 acres – boosting plans for tackling the character and climate emergencies, and supporting community regeneration by character-based tourism.
So far this year, the team behind the save have also been pushing ahead restoring globally important peatlands and ancient woods, establishing native woodlands, and turning it into a haven for wildlife including short-eared owls and much-persecuted hen harriers – all while generating social and economic opportunities for local people.
Anyone who wants to help can make a donation to the online public crowdfunder at bit.ly/LangholmMoorAppeal and more information is on the website: langholminitiative.org.uk.
in addition as urging people to donate to the crowdfunder, the community is seeking major funders and applications are being made to grant-funding bodies.
Leading charities that have supported the buyout so far include the Borders Forest Trust, John Muir Trust, Rewilding Britain, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Trees for Life, and the Woodland Trust.
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