The Tayvallich peninsula in Mid Argyll is an exceptional place, where landscape and sympathetic farming enable nationally and internationally important wildlife to prosper. The local community has come together in the Tayvallich Initiative (a company limited by guarantee, with charitable status) to manage some land and houses, some of which was gift to the community and some of which was purchased with an award from Scottish Land Fund. There is some legacy land gifted by a late resident of the village, and some land and a house gifted by the former owners of Tayvallich Estate. Two community-owned houses are now owned and rented out in Tayvallich. Tayvallich Initiative was established in 2022. In 2023, after more than 70 years of ownership by one family, Tayvallich Estate, which covers around 3,500 acres of the peninsula, was sold to Highlands Rewilding Ltd. The sale creates an opportunity to secure and enhance the value of this special area. In 2023 Tayvallich Initiative also negotiated and signed a wide-reaching ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding between Highlands Rewilding Ltd and Tayvallich Initiative.
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Our vision is to protect and enhance what makes Tayvallich and the surrounding area unique: its rich natural heritage, the community’s resilience, and the strong connection between its people and the land and sea. Reversing depopulation and maintaining and developing employment in the area are key concerns, while also maintaining the area’s natural richness and responding and adapting to the climate and biodiversity emergencies. Community land ownership helps to enable these ambitions to be realised.
Housing for affordable rent and work spaces will be developed on land near Tayvallich to attract young people to stay and work
locally, in turn supporting the primary school, bus service, pub, shop and church. We will develop this initiative along with the local
schools, to provide reasons for young people to stay.
Tayvallich Estate has more than half of the peninsula’s rented houses. Additional housing for affordable rent, or plots for house-building with a rural housing burden attached, would attract more families to help the area to thrive. A rural housing burden specifies that a property has to be the primary residence of those living there, thus helping to repopulate the area with long-term residents.
The community seeks to keep farming jobs, with the livestock and agri-environment payments that are also needed for grazing to maintain wildlife.
We would like to see opportunities for market gardening or community orchards to provide locally produced seasonal vegetables and fruit.
We support the selling of low-impact, locally produced beef, lamb and venison to reduce food miles.
Sales of venison subsidise the control of deer numbers needed for trees to grow.
In time it would be great to see regenerative starter farms or smallholdings that could provide jobs, training opportunities and locally produced food for the community.
Restoring native Atlantic rainforest where grazing is less valuable would increase biodiversity and sequester carbon. Carbon credits can
be valuable. Livestock farming can also store carbon in soil. This is compatible with woodland regeneration when managed carefully.
A native tree nursery, using local seed stock, would accelerate woodland regeneration, create work and help to pay for itself through sales of saplings.
The area already attracts some low-impact visitors. Developing sensitively sited paths through the woodland closest to the village would bring health and wellbeing benefits for the school, the wider community and visitors alike.
Tayvallich Initiative will share what it learns, to help other community groups.
The community's vision for the land owned by Tayvallich Initiative is to manage the land carefully and to progress a plan for building housing for affordable rent or offering houses/plots with rural housing burdens attached specifying that a property has to be the primary residence of those living there. It is a big challenge for a small community. We are grateful for any contribution received.
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This MOU creates an embryonic framework to enable an evolving conversation between Highlands Rewilding and the neighbouring community. Tayvallich Initiative looks forward to developing an ongoing relationship with Highlands Rewilding as HRL works with the great potential in this area both for nature restoration and regeneration with sympathetic farming and for community prosperity and repopulation.