Copshaw Fit for our Future is now a reality

With overwhelming community response and support we submitted our bid to Scottish Land Fund to buy the Holm Hill and after waiting 5 months for a decision a new dawn has truly arrived.

It is now a reality with funds awarded to make this possible.

The Community Trust expects to conclude the acquisition by September 30th when the real hard work will begin!


A historic land buyout in the Scottish Borders is closer than ever following a substantial grant awarded to Newcastleton and District Community Trust (NDCT), from the Scottish Land Fund enabling the purchase of 750 acres of land known as Holm Hill adjacent to Newcastleton village from Buccleuch’s Borders Estate.

Newcastleton & District Community Trust wishes to take this opportunity to thank the community of Newcastleton; without their passion and drive none of this would have happened and we now all have an enormous opportunity to grow and develop our community.

Steve Hartley, chair of the trust, said: “The last 12 months have seen a mammoth amount of work undertaken by many people to get us to where we are today, the culmination of all that work results in being awarded the capital to purchase land adjacent to our village. Community ownership of this land, much of it still used today as it was over 225 years ago, now gives us all a bigger, brighter, sustainable future.

This will continue to include farming, but the community also wants to develop new leisure and renewable sectors spreading the benefits of community ownership to everyone who lives here.”

We would also like to thank the Scottish Land Fund, for believing in our vision and awarding the funds to secure this land and to Buccleuch for their constructive and proactive approach as well as their patience in allowing the community time to prepare our bid, working with us to overcome the challenges presented and to go the extra mile when we asked them to. “We cannot express what owning the Holm Hill means to us all, to us it is priceless”

Benny Higgins, executive chairman at Buccleuch, said: “We are delighted that NDCT has been successful in securing funding and this is a major milestone for them to reach. Community aspirations are at the heart of Buccleuch’s values and when we announced in May last year that we wanted to sell property on the Borders Estate, Buccleuch was fully committed to engaging with local bodies to assess their appetite for purchasing the land.”

“NDCT have displayed tenacity and willingness to cooperate that has made the discussions an enjoyable process.”

Holm Hill Community Buy-out

The question that we all now need to answer is:
Shall we? Or shan’t we?

If the answer is yes…
NDCT will prepare a submission to the Scottish Land Fund applying for funding to secure the land by the January 17th deadline, outcomes will be known in May. There is no time to lose!

NDCT is clear that the outcomes of the feasibility studies give the community real opportunity to utilise land to deliver an inclusive growth strategy to benefit us all. It will take time, commitment and revenue to do this, but if we don’t seize this opportunity then Newcastleton will always remain stifled, never able to develop.

Currently development opportunities within the village are limited due to flood constraints. Whilst this can be overcome, it will be 5 to 10 years before we see a scheme that enables us to promote inward investment within our current boundary.

The River Liddel stops us on one side and Buccleuch land stops us on the other.

NDCT welcomed Buccleuch’s decision to grant time to consider what we might do with the land on Holm Hill – Tarras Water.

Owning land gives us opportunity

Owning land gives us all the opportunity to drive things forward to suit the wider needs of the community and to have a bigger say in how these opportunities develop.

Doing nothing allows others to control our future.

We don’t have all the answers and it might take ages before we know the outcome of the railway, but we need to plan for it.

We don’t know what might happen to farming as a sector in terms of viability and grant support, but this community was built on agriculture and many of our local families still rely on it for a living. NDCT are clear we need land to ensure that when the dust settles after Brexit and sound financial decisions about land management can be made, we can be part of that decision-making process. We want the choice to be able to choose what happens to the land that has provided so much for us.

Owning land gives us that choice

Those of you who have lived under Boosie Plantation have suffered with shadow for many, many years. Over time this has impacted on many more of us than just those adjacent to it. If we own it, it can be redesigned to suit community need, not just commercial gain.

NDCT are clear – we do not want planting on our doorsteps or in our back yards. If we own the land, we can control what happens on it. If we own it, we will need to replant Boosie – but it doesn’t have to be where it is currently, we will have a choice.