Langholm is one of 8 Walkers are Welcome Towns in Scotland. They tell us “Langholm has a population of 2,300 and used to be a very prosperous Textile town with several mills plus it was the HQ of Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) and also the home the famous animal figurine company Border Fine Arts. In the 70s and early 80s, there would be over 1500 people employed in the town with many of them commuting from all over the area to the town. Over the next 20 years, all these industries started to decline and now the very last textile mill has closed as a result of the Coronavirus. The Edinburgh Woollen Mill has moved its HQ to Carlisle in England and Border Fine Arts is also closed.
In 2000, Langholm Walks Group was set up to try and encourage people to come to the area to walk. In the past, Langholm did not need tourists as there was full employment, but now we are doing our best to encourage people to visit. We have always been the poor relation of Dumfries and Galloway and the locals feel more like Borderers than from D & G. As the tourist industry in the area has always promoted the A75 corridor through Dumfries & Galloway, the east of Dumfriesshire was neglected and especially Langholm, so we developed an attitude of “nobody will do it for us so we will get on and do it ourselves”. This has proved very successful over the last 15 years with the development of Langholm Walks and also The Buccleuch Centre as a Theatre and Arts Centre plus many other projects. The tourists had started coming and things were looking good until the Coronavirus and now we are facing a bleak future. The one thing on the horizon that gives us hope is the development of The Langholm Moor and the possibility that we can purchase it for the community. A year ago, The Duke of Buccleuch announced that the 25,000 acre Langholm Moor was being put up for sale. This prompted a group of locals under the guidance of The Langholm Initiative to look at the possibility of purchasing it on behalf of the community. After a considerable amount of money was raised in a very short time a feasibility study was commissioned and talks opened with Buccleuch Estates. As a result of all this an agreed value was placed on the land of £6.4M and an application made to The Scottish Government’s Land Fund. It is hoped that this fund will contribute £3M to our fund which will leave £3.4M to be found by the community.
On 7th May 2020, a GoFundMe page was set up and the campaign to raise the £3.4M was started. We had an excellent start with £100,000 being pledged to the project by The John Muir Trust and in a few hours, £18K had been raised on the GoFundMe page. Of course, there is a long way to go and we have just until October to raise the money to complete the purchase depending of course on The Scottish Government support which is due hopefully in June ; early indications are that everybody in The Scottish Government and also many of the organisations like SNH and RSPB are behind the project. If we are successful and buy the land then we would immediately have an Income as there are 9 properties including a working farm plus an area of Forestry so that income would sustain a Project Manager and team to implement all our plans for the future. It’s a huge project, but so important as The Langholm Moor is probably the best place in mainland UK to see the hen harrier. This year we have at least 4 pairs nesting on the Moor plus many other raptors such as merlin, and short eared owls.
To find out all the details of our plans for this exciting project please visit The Langholm Initiative website https://www.langholminitiative.org.uk and study our plans for the future of this wonderful Langholm Moor.
If you wish to give a donation to the fund to purchase The Langholm Moor then visit
The photograph is of a hen harrier on The Langholm Moor by John Wright who has kindly donated it to the project.”