Jun 03 2022

Jane Sayers shares her Langholm story

A few weeks ago the whole Woodland Trust Scotland Team visited Langholm, in the south of Scotland, to see the incredible progress made by the Langholm initiative – a project for which the Woodland Trust is a partner. 


Scotland Team ready to head out to the Tarras Valley nature reserve


Jane Sayers is employed by the Woodland Trust to help support the woodland creation side of the landscape restoration, and she shares her story with us here.


I’m Jane Sayers and I’ve been working for Woodland Trust Scotland for a year now. My role is Woodland Outreach Advisor for the south of Scotland and also for the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, a project of the Langholm Initiative.
The Langholm Initiative was formed in 1994 in response to declining industry in the ‘Muckle Toon.’ Since then, they have a history of success, facilitating projects which have made a lasting difference to people in the area.


Jane and her dogs out on the moor.


In 2019 a new opportunity arose, as Buccleuch Estates announced that Langholm Moor was up for sale, an area totalling 10,500 acres. The Langholm Initiative, together with the community, got together to raise funds to buy the land and bring it into community ownership. This seemed like an impossible dream, but in March 2021 half of Langholm Moor (5,200 acres) came into community ownership after £3.8 million was raised in just six months. The Woodland Trust stepped in at the last minute, contributing £200,000 to get the funding over the line. The area is now known as the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve and a team of staff have been in place to manage it since July 2021.


The Langholm Team, with Jane in red in the back row.


Fundraising to complete the purchase of the remainder of the moor is underway. The deadline for the next purchase is 31st July and currently there is a shortfall of around £500,000, but the community and staff are hopeful of success and energised to make it a reality. 


Although everyone has been very busy working towards completing the purchase of the moor, volunteers have been active clocking up over 430 hours since October last year. Activities have included removal of invasive Sitka spruce, removing plastic tree guards and pheasant pen infrastructure, nest box construction, tree seed collection and a ‘Bioblitz’ of the reserve.


Here are some images of the volunteers hard at work.



Removing old tree guards



….and removing old pheasant rearing fencing





Sunday 3rd May saw our first tree-planting event for volunteers on Tarras Valley Nature Reserve. It was a beautiful day for planting and sixteen volunteers, from the young to the young-at-heart, managed to plant more than 400 trees over an enjoyable few hours. Tree planting has continued since then and volunteers have planted over 1000 trees this season.
There will be plenty more opportunities to volunteer. Check out our Facebook page (@TarrasValleyReserve) or contact Kat (kat@tarrasvalleynaturereserve.co.uk) to keep up to date with volunteering opportunities.


Jane Sayers

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