Groups express interest in 25,000 acres of Buccleuch land

Two communities have expressed an interest in buying some or all of the land (Photo: GCWT)
Two communities have expressed an interest in buying some or all of the land (Photo: GCWT)

Two local communities have expressed an interest in acquiring land owned by Buccleuch Estates in the southwest of Scotland.

The large swathe of land, totalling 25,000 acres, includes the entire Langholm Moor - stretching from Auchenrivock in the south to Hartsgarth in the north.

Most of the area is currently part of Buccleuch’s farming operation, and there are a small number of farm tenancies and blocks of forestry.

Buccleuch, which represents the interests of Scotland's largest private landowners, manages 270,000 acres of land.



It issued a consultation questionnaire to community bodies and meetings were held with councils and groups.

Benny Higgins, executive chairman, said: “We opened the consultation on Langholm Moor on 30th May 2019, with a view to putting the land on the open market in August if there was no registered interest.



“Through the consultation and meetings with various community bodies, two local communities have expressed a desire to reflect on whether or not they may wish to bid for some or all of the land that is to be sold.”

The two community bodies have until the end of March 2020 to conclude their intentions.

Buccleuch said it wants to cooperate with the groups in a 'transparent manner'.

Mr Higgins added: “If a successful bid emerges, we will ensure there is sufficient time to reach legal closure.

“Needless to say, if no such bid emerges we will continue with the planned marketing of the land.”

The Scottish Land Commission applauded the Estate for putting local communities 'at the heart' of the process.

Andrew Thin, Chair of the Commission said: “This is a great example of how landowners can work effectively with local communities to make the most of the land for those living there.



“The Scottish Land Commission is working to increase the accountability of land ownership through greater engagement in land use decision making and to also diversify the pattern of land ownership.

“It is good to see the possibility of negotiated transfer open up and we encourage both the Estate and the communities to make the most of this opportunity,” he said.

In September last year, Buccleuch announced it is to sell land on its Borders estate for more than £19m.

It confirmed that any sale of land encompassing tenanted farms would see current leasing agreements honoured.

The Buccleuch Estate is headed by the current Duke of Buccleuch Richard Scott.