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Scottish rewilding project hits £2.2m buyout target

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theguardian.com

A rewilding project on a former grouse moor at Langholm in southern Scotland has doubled in size after a “rollercoaster” fundraising campaign by local activists.The Langholm Initiative announced on Friday it had finally raised the £2.2m needed to buy out a further 2,415 hectares (5,300 acres) of moorland from one of Scotland’s largest hereditary landowners, the Duke of Buccleuch.The deal allows the community buyout to reach its original goal of creating a 4,000-hectare nature reserve known as Tarras Valley, more than three years after Buccleuch Estates originally put the land on the market, following an intensive crowdfunding and charitable funding campaign.Jenny Barlow, Tarras Valley nature reserve’s estate manager, said it hoped the project, which will include peatland restoration, new native woodlands and bird of prey conservation, would become a “beacon of hope for people and planet”.“It’s been a rollercoaster, but the generosity and unwavering support of so many wonderful donors and volunteers have got us over the line in the nick of time,” she said.“This is about a grassroots fightback against the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, and helping to create a better future.

We are doing something so special here, and our expanding reserve is an amazing opportunity for people to visit this part of the world and be inspired by the wonders of nature.”The Langholm Initiative had initially sought to buy all 4,000 hectares from Buccleuch for £6m in a single deal, but was unable to raise the full price because of a lack of easily accessible sources of funding for community buyouts of that scale.

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