A LOCAL upland farm is to become a woodland after Royal Society for the Protection of Birds bought out the farmer. The 996-acre Barclye Farm, was sold by the Scott family to the RSPB because the body wants to extend its existing reserve at the Wood of Cree.
The RSPB have had a long-standing interest in Barclye Farm, whose scenic acres slope down to the Cree.
Farmer Ian Scott said: "It's a complicated story. The purchase of Barclye came about because the RSBP wanted to do a project involving Barclye for a number of years in conjunction with the Wood of Cree woodlands nearby.
"They approached me with the possibility of buying the land, and after long discussions I decided, at my time of life, to give them the go ahead."
The RSPB aim to plant a quarter of a million trees in the coming years, which they say "will help nature to reclaim the land and expanding a scarce and beautiful woodland habitat."
The Wood of Cree is a remnant of the great oak woods that once dominated much of Galloway.
The RSPB says Scotland retains just 1 per cent of its ancient woods and most of these are unprotected from the demands for more roads, airports, housing and electricity pylons.
The organisation will manage and plant some 250,000 native seedlings of oak, downy birch, ash, alder and willow to create around 670 acres of new woodland.
Pam Pumphrey, the chair of RSPB's Scottish Committee, who lives close to the Wood of Cree, said: "The acquisition of Barclye Farm is a marvellous extension to the Cree Valley woodland, and will allow visitors to walk uninterrupted for 18 kilometres through deciduous forest.
"It's a splendid addition, both for people and wildlife, and will support rare and threatened species such as the black grouse. I am particularly pleased that it will involve wood and scrub pasture which is scarce in many parts of the UK and has been a traditional feature of Dumfries and Galloway, so it is nice that we are continuing the tradition here."