Group says progress has made major strides
A new nature reserve will be created in Scotland if a community group is successful in a buyout bid from Scotland’s richest landowner.
The Langholm Initiative said it is progressing well in its bid to buy out 10,000 acres from the Duke of Buccleuch’s estate in southern Scotland.
The group plans to create the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve if successful as well as help regeneration, tackle climate change and develop outdoor tourism in the area.
Buccleuch, the company owning the state, announced its intention last year to sell off about 25,000 acres of its Borders land.
Hundreds of people have backed the bid with its goal to turn around "decades of economic decline through the loss of textile manufacturing".
A valuation has put a price of just over £6m on the land and an application has gone to the Scottish Land Fund for half the amount.
Project leader Kevin Cumming said: "The south of Scotland lags far behind the Highland and Islands in the support it has received for community land ownership." "This is despite facing many of the same issues as that part of Scotland such as ageing population, youth migration and loss of industry."
Buccleuch said it had been "working closely" with the initiative and talks were "progressing well".
"We hope we will reach a positive conclusion before the end of this year," a spokesperson added.