Buccleuch Estates has put up for sale a further 10,100ha of farmland in the Scottish borders.
The sale is part of a wider programme of restructuring, with the business announcing the sale of almost 3,640ha in September 2018 to free up capital for other projects and to reduce the “footprint” of the estate.
The operation has also merged two of its estates into one and offered tenants on secure tenancies the opportunity to buy their farms.
The latest announcement covers land stretching from Auchenrivock in the south to Hartsgarth in the north and includes Langholm Moor, which was the site of two major scientific projects relating to moorland management.
Much of the area is currently part of Buccleuch’s in-hand farming operation, but there are also blocks of forestry and a small number of farm tenancies, which will continue under new ownerships.
Benny Higgins, executive chairman of Buccleuch, said: “The completion of the Langholm Moor project gave us an opportunity to look at what moor’s future should be within the wider Buccleuch portfolio of landholdings.
“That review led us to the conclusion that marketing the moor area for sale was our preferred option.
“The decision is very much in line with our business’s stated aim of reducing the Buccleuch footprint while enabling us to invest in priority projects.”
Buccleuch has said it will consult with the local communities about the proposed sale, inviting responses to a short questionnaire, which will be made available on the Buccleuch website or in local community hubs.
This is in line with the Scottish Land Commission’s guidance on the need for community engagement.
Andrew Thin, chair of the SLC, welcomed this approach.
He said: “Scotland’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement sets out a clear ambition about the relationship between land and people in Scotland promoting greater diversity in ownership of land including more community ownership, high standards and transparency of land ownership and use, and better community engagement in decisions about land.
“We welcome the announcement by Buccleuch as a step in achieving this ambition and we encourage other large-scale landowners to consider a similar approach.”