Tarras Valley Nature Reserve

An ambitious community led project to restore nature 

4 N7 A6156 Roe Langholm June 2019 John Wright

At a glance

Location

Tarras Valley, Southern Scotland

Area

2,105 hectares

Start date

2021

Scale

Large

Habitats

Upland, Broadleaved woodland, Wetlands (including peatlands and marsh), Rivers and streams and Grassland and meadow

Key species

Otter, Salmon, Hen harrier and Brown trout

Rewilding actions

Habitat restoration, Natural regeneration and Conservation grazing

Engaging people

Volunteering, Tourism, Education programme and Community led

Earlier this year, the Langholm Initiative completed the largest ever community buyout of land in Southern Scotland. The Tarras Valley already supports a range of wildlife, including salmon, brown trout, otters and dippers with the occasional golden eagle visit. However, the area has the potential to provide more opportunities for a whole range of wildlife. Formerly managed as a grouse moor, the proposals for the land under community ownership include protecting and restoring peatlands and ancient woodland and creating a rich haven for wildlife including hen harriers.

The Tarras Valley is valued by the local community, who would like to restore it for future generations. Owning the land gives the local people a stake in shaping and safeguarding its future. The project vision is not just focused on restoring a wilder landscape, it is also about improving people’s access and connection to the land. This will be achieved through improving picnic areas, footpaths community activities and nature hides. The local community managed to raise a staggering £3.8 million in 6 months to purchase the land, with a second land purchase fundraising initiative currently on-going to double the size of the reserve.

KICK-STARTING REWILDING

Natural regeneration will be encouraged on site through the reduction in grazing pressure and management. This will allow woodland to recover and will create a wilder and more diverse landscape which can support an abundance of wildlife. The strategy for the project is still being developed, but will include the restoration of peatland on site to re-wet the area and regenerating ancient forest. Once habitats on site have been allowed to recover, it is likely that some herbivores will be introduced to the project area in low numbers, such as cattle and horses, to create a dynamic mosaic of habitats.

NATURE BASED ENTERPRISES

The project wants to build a nature based economy around the land which generates jobs and income for the local community. This will include new sustainable tourism initiatives such as glamping and trails, as well as a wildlife and dark sky observatory. Buildings will be redeveloped to generate income, and land based jobs will be created.

IMAGES: Langholm Initiative, John Wright, L. Campbell

Gallery

Future Plans

  1. 1 Fundraise for a second buy-out to double the size of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve
  2. 2 Continue to develop the strategy for the site alongside the local community

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