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Tarras Valley Nature Reserve

An ambitious community led project to restore nature.

 © Martin Harvey

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.


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.


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.


  1. Fundraise for a second buy-out to double the size of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve
  2. Continue to develop the strategy for the site alongside the local community
  • Tarras canoe
     © Tarras Valley / Langholm
  • Hen harrier
     © L.Campbell / Langholm
  • Tarras swimming
     © Tarras Valley / Langholm
Jenny Barlow and Margaret Pool at Tarras Valley Nature Reserve
 © Martin Wright

Meet the rewilders: Langholm

Meet the two inspirational women at the forefront of rewilding the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, Langholm.

Short eared Owl Langholm June 2008
 © John Wright / Langholm

The community business plan

Find out more about the community-led business plan for the project.

 © Martin Harvey

The Rewilding Network

The Rewilding Network is the go-to place for projects across Britain to connect, share and make rewilding happen on land and sea.

Discover the Rewilding Network

More about Tarras Valley Nature Reserve

Find out more about Tarras Valley Nature Reserve on their website.

Visit Tarras Valley Nature Reserve website