Buccleuch sells rest of Langholm Moor to Exeter firm

Benny Higgins

Buccleuch — one of Scotland’s biggest private landowners — announced it has concluded missives with Exeter-based Oxygen Conservation for the sale of 11,390 acres of the Langholm Moor, known as Blackburn and Hartsgarth.

Buccleuch already sold sections of Langholm Moor to community groups The Langholm Initiative (TLI) and Newcastleton and District Community Trust (NDCT).

“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,” said Buccleuch.

“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.

“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.”

Buccleuch executive chairman Benny Higgins said: “The fit between Buccleuch and Oxygen Conservation could not be better; their work on the Moor will build upon and enhance the environmental work undertaken over the years by Buccleuch and their aims and objectives complement the work being undertaken on the neighbouring Tarras Valley Nature Reserve.

“Buccleuch have long held the belief that the discussion around land ownership in Scotland should move from a debate about how much is owned by whom to an understanding of the beneficial impact that land management, delivered at scale, can have on both the environment and local communities.

“To see this mirrored in the aims and objectives of diverse newer landowners such as Oxygen Conservation and The Langholm Initiative will help to open up this discussion.”

Oxygen Conservation managing director Rich Stockdale said: “Oxygen Conservation are delighted to be given this opportunity to support the ongoing restoration of Blackburn and Hartsgarth’s wonderful landscape and work with the fantastic local community.

“We look forward to listening and sharing ideas with our new neighbours as we develop a plan for this unique area that builds on the excellent environmental work already delivered by Buccleuch on site, and at the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, to deliver genuine positive environmental and social impact.”