COMMUNITY ownership of an important area of land in Stirling has moved one step closer after securing funding from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF).

Alongside more than £5000 from the Scottish Government’s Community Led Local Development fund, the SLF grant – worth £18,500 – is set to help local residents make the case for community ownership of an area known as The Field in Kinlochard, near Aberfoyle.

The land, which spans more than 26 acres, consists of semi-wild wood, riverbanks, bog and heath land.

The National: The area of land spans 26 acresWork is already underway on the next phase of the ownership process, which aims to draw up a successful business plan from consultation with residents.

Community Councillor Joyce Kelly, who is leading the group negotiating the purchase from the current landowners, said community ownership of the land would completely transform the village.

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“What happens to The Field will in large part determine the future of our village; community ownership enables those best-placed - the folk that live here - to decide that future,” Kelly said.

The National: Residents have been engaged in the consultancy processResidents have been engaged in the consultancy process (Image: Kinlochard Life Plan Steering Group)

Residents said they were determined to safeguard the natural and cultural heritage of Kinlochard, while at the same time developing the existing relationship between people and place.

They are already cataloguing The Field’s flora and fauna, whilst also exploring social, environmental and economic benefits to the land.

Those behind the plan say they are hopeful they will be able to apply for the next stage of SLF funding, which would enable them to purchase the land, in the early summer.