A fundraising campaign has been launched to double the size of a nature reserve in Dumfries and Galloway – hoping to raise £2.2m.
The Langholm Initiative charity created the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve after raising £3.8m to buy 5,200 acres of land and six residential properties.
The campaign was launched last year and the group took ownership of the land in March.
It now hopes to buy 5,300 acres of Langholm Moor and three residential properties from Buccleuch Estates.
This would increase the size of the nature reserve to 10,500 acres. The community said it needs to raise the funds by May 2022, as the offer from Buccleuch is time limited.
An initial crowdfunder on Go Fund Me aims to raise at least £150,000. Applications will also be made to grant-funding bodies and a private donor has already pledged £500,000.
Jenny Barlow, the reserve’s estate manager, said: “We’re aiming to repeat the impossible and open a new chapter in this inspiring story of hope and community by doubling the size of Tarras Valley Nature Reserve – and so doubling the benefits for people, nature and climate.
“We need all the help we can get to achieve a big win for wildlife, climate action and community regeneration – and a legacy for future generations.
“Scotland is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries and it desperately needs projects like this.”
She added that if the land goes onto the open market there is a risk it “will be bought by corporate investment firms, which are currently banking large amounts of land in the area”.
Benny Higgins, Buccleuch’s executive chairman, said: “We were delighted that The Langholm Initiative was able to purchase the initial area from Buccleuch last year, having shown such tenacity and vision.
“Having reached agreement on timeline and value, we wish them every success with this next exciting phase, both for the initiative and the community.”
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