Further conservation efforts in store for moorland

SEVERAL thousand acres of moorland in the Scottish Borders earmarked for community-led initiatives are to be joined by several thousand more, operated by a conservation organisation.

Begins a media release (here) issued on behalf of major land owners, Buccleuch, missives have been concluded with Oxygen Conservation in relation to the sale of 11,390 acres of the Langholm Moor, known as Blackburn and Hartsgarth.

The release continues: “Buccleuch has long stated the strategic aim of reviewing its assets to ensure the business remains sustainable for the future and, having taken the decision to sell the Langholm Moor in 2019, began a period of extensive community consultation, in line with the Scottish Land Commission’s good practice protocol.

“During this period, two local groups, The Langholm Initiative (TLI) and Newcastleton and District Community Trust (NDCT) came forward noting an interest in separate areas of the moor. Sales of 760 acres to NDCT and 5,200 acres to TLI were completed in the course of 2020 and 2021, respectively; with TLI completing a purchase of an additional 5,246 acres in 2022.”

The Langholm Initiative is looking to create what it calls the ‘Tarras Valley Nature Reserve‘.

The release continues: “With the sales to the communities complete, Buccleuch were delighted when Oxygen Conservation expressed an interest in the remaining area of the moor, especially so as their commitment to the environment and the community are so closely aligned to Buccleuch’s values.”

Says a spokesperson for Oxygen Conservation: “Oxygen Conservation is a private company which is part of Oxygen House Group. Our business was established in June 2021 with the mission of scaling conservation by growing natural capital.

“We are acquiring a portfolio of unique land holdings, each with a different geography, environment, ecology and set of land management challenges, and aim to demonstrate that scaling conservation can deliver significant positive environment and social impact, generating an economic return as a result, not as the purpose, of what we do.”

Pictured: Benny Higgins, executive chair, Buccleuch, Picture credit: Buccleuch

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