Langholm Moor will be known to many people as a place where some clever research was done to look at Hen Harriers and grouse moor management. There has been lots written about this, but for further reading the project website is a good starting point: Langholm Moor Demonstration Project, neatly summed up by Dr Mark Avery in Inglorious in one short bullet point – “When the law was respected, raptors, including Hen Harriers and Peregrine Falcons, increased in numbers and removed the shootable surplus of Red Grouse on which driven grouse shooting depends.”
Buccleuch Estates, who own Langholm Moor, put the area up for sale last year, and a local community group, the Langholm Initiative, have been looking at purchasing the land. Last year they launched a crowdfunder that raised money to undertake a feasibility study – I, along with hundreds of others, made a small contribution.
The resulting feasibility study is impressive and represents “one of the most ambitious community plans of a generation. The people of Langholm will own nearly 10,500 acres and protect this landscape for generations to come. The land will be managed to generate community benefits through economic regeneration, ecological restoration, carbon capture and increased biodiversity. With your help we will regenerate a rural community that has seen so much heartache in recent years.” That sounds so much better than a degraded landscape managed as a grouse moor so a handful of people can kill a load of grouse each year!
The community buyout looks fascinating, a genuinely visionary project that offers an alternative way of managing our largely dysfunctional uplands – resulting in the creation of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve. The project will need support in the coming months and years ahead. It is worth visiting their excellent website that has various documents outlining their ideas and plans. You can help support the project by becoming an Associate Member (if you live outside the area) or a full member if you have a DG13 or DG14 postcode.
Visit the Langholm Initiative website
You can contact Kevin Cumming the Project Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Taken from Tarras Valley Nature Reserve study via the Langholm Initiative website