THE £10.5 million sale of a 3400-acre Scottish estate to a rewilding project has gone ahead, boosting hopes of a breakthrough in scaling up nature recovery.

Highlands Rewilding, which was founded by the former ­Greenpeace ­director Jeremy Leggett, has announced it has bought the Tayvallich estate at Lochgilphead, Argyll.

The estate comprises many houses and cottages as well as ­encompassing three different Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), five Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the 811-acre tidal island of Danna.

The sale has been welcomed by Tayvallich Initiative, which said it is looking forward to working with Highlands Rewilding.

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“As a proactive community, ­Tayvallich looks forward to ­working with our new neighbour Highlands Rewilding to address our most ­pressing issues, including affordable housing and facilitating options for younger people to live and work in the area,” said a spokesperson.

“We feel that Highlands ­Rewilding’s plans to regenerate nature will ­create local jobs, while addressing the ­climate and biodiversity emergency.

“Tayvallich Initiative and Highlands Rewilding are making good progress in developing a Memorandum of Understanding as an initial step in working together towards those objectives.”

A spokesperson for Highlands Rewilding said the estate ­represented a “magnet for capital for nature recovery”.

“We will be working hard to turn this commitment into a ­significant scaling of rewilding,” said the ­spokesperson. “The rich tapestry of habitats provide huge opportunities for our frontier work in natural ­capital science, ­including great potential for Scotland’s temperate rainforest ­restoration, a vitally important and rare habitat.”

The acquisition was made possible by substantial support from the UK Infrastructure Bank and a committed long-term founding funder.

John Flint, the bank’s chief executive, said: “The Highlands Rewilding project on the Tayvallich Estate has exciting potential for climate, ­biodiversity and economic growth benefits and I am pleased we are able to provide short-term financial support.

“The bank’s investment is ­intended to support the development of the ­science, data and understanding ­needed to deliver high-integrity ­natural capital markets, in line with our mission to boost the innovative ­infrastructure technologies which will be essential to achieving net zero.”

Highland Rewilding has also ­announced that it is now within reach of its £1m crowdfunding target, having raised more than £920,000 with investments from more than 570 investors, around 40% of whom live in Scotland.

“This is a remarkable achievement and testament to the groundswell of support for nature restoration that is actively combatting climate ­meltdown and biodiversity collapse,” said a spokesperson.

The National: Highlands Rewilding founder Jeremy LeggettHighlands Rewilding founder Jeremy Leggett (Image: NQ)

“With one month to go in our fundraising and crowdfund campaign, we are inviting all those who have not yet invested to join us on our mission; to join our expeditionary force for hope.

“In a world of climate and biodiversity meltdown, social cohesion becomes impossible and rural areas, often the worst affected by these crises, will continue to depopulate. Our hope, our only hope, is to help nature fight back, attracting investment into rewilding and giving communities the tools with which to adapt and thrive in less nature-depleted landscapes.”

Highlands Rewilding has ­previously acquired Beldorney in Aberdeenshire and Bunloit near Loch Ness.