South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed a ‘game changing’ £1m award to help extend the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve through the purchase of more of the Moor from Buccleuch Estates.
The Langholm Initiative completed a £3.8m deal with Buccleuch last year for more than 5,000 acres in the area.
This latest cash from the Scottish Land Fund will go towards the £2.2m needed to buy a similar sized slice of land.
A deadline of 31 July has been given to gather the funds.
Colin Smyth said: “This £1 million is a game changer for the Langholm Initiative and takes them within touching distance of their target for a second buy-out.
“The group now need £450,000 to complete their overall target and I would urge people to consider giving what they can through their crowd funder.
“The Initiative managed to raise an amazing £3.8m to successfully buy 5,200 acres last year and the team has exciting plans for the future of the moor.
“Langholm Initiative really hit the road running with their ambitions to realise the massive potential the Reserve has. The last two years have been tough for everyone but one of the local lights at the end of the tunnel has been the drive by Langholm Initiative to take forward plans for the nature reserve.
“The first buy-out was a truly outstanding achievement by the team behind the bid and fantastic for the Eskdale community. This was the South of Scotland’s largest ever buyout and the community of Langholm really are history makers. But we can and should go further.
“We cannot underestimate the positive impact this has on the local economy through eco-tourism and the boost it gives to the local environment through better protection and enhancement of a site of special scientific interest.
“I hope a deal can be done to bring the whole target site under the ownership of the community. The second part is more remote and would open up even more opportunities.
“Too much of our land is still in the hands of far too few but thanks to this deal, we have made a small step in the direction of righting that wrong and I’m really excited by the aim to go even further.”