THE largest community buyout in the south of Scotland has been legally completed after a fundraising campaign.

The £3.8 million deal for 5200 acres of land and six residential properties paves the way for the creation of a vast new nature reserve in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Langholm Initiative charity and Buccleuch made the deal in October, after the community of Langholm’s six-month fundraising drive reached its target in the final two days.

READ MORE: Scots villagers agree £3.8m community buyout of Langholm Moor

With the transfer of ownership finalised, the community now owns the land for the first time in its history.

Margaret Pool, chairwoman of the Langholm Initiative, said: “Together we’ve achieved something which once seemed impossible, and today we can celebrate as a new era begins for this special land with which our community has such a deep and long-standing connection.

“Our sincere, heartfelt thanks go to so many people for making this historic moment for Langholm happen – including the generous donors and tireless volunteers, and to Buccleuch for being so supportive and positive in their approach.”

The initiative has set up Tarras Valley Nature Reserve for the day-to-day running of the new venture.

It is currently recruiting two members of staff who will oversee the landscape-scale nature-restoration project.

Discussions are continuing between the Langholm Initiative and Buccleuch over another 5300 acres of land the community wishes to buy, which could double the size of the new nature reserve.