The curving mountain ranges around Brecon have long been one of the iconic images of Wales, and now the name of this beautiful landscape is also unmistakably Welsh.
As of this week, the Brecon Beacons has officially switched to using its Welsh name, Bannau Brycheiniog – or “the Bannau” for short.
Pronounced ban-aye bruch-ay-nee-og, the new name translates as “The Peaks of Brychan’s Kingdom”, with Brychan a legendary king who is said to have ruled the Brecon area during the 5th century. Bannau Brycheiniog has always been the Welsh name for the park, but will now replace the old English name on official signage and literature.
The national park is the second in Wales to revert to its Welsh name, with Eryri (Snowdonia) officially switching its title at the end of last year, following a petition from local residents.
As well as instilling a stronger sense of Welsh identity into the area, the change in name coincides with what park authorities are defining as a new era for the protected landscape, with new action plans being implemented to halt declines in wildlife and biodiversity. Such plans include the restoration of 16,000 hectares of peatland and the planting of one million trees.
The park is also aiming to make farming practices in the area more eco-friendly, improve the quality of waters in its rivers, and undertake conservation efforts to help bird populations recover, with an overarching goal of making the park net zero by 2035.
Speaking about the change in name, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Chief Executive, Catherine Mealing-Jones, said, ‘Reclaiming our old [Welsh] name reflects our commitment to the Welsh language, but we understand people are used to calling the park by the name everyone’s used for 66 years, so we don’t expect everyone to use Bannau Brycheiniog, at least straight away.’
Commenting on the coinciding action plan for the park, Catherine said, ‘Our new management plan tackles climate change head on as we transition to net zero by 2035. Action will be happening across the Bannau to restore nature’s ability to capture carbon from the atmosphere.’
Another person excited by the new development is Hollywood actor and Welsh activist, Michael Sheen, who appeared in the video unveiling the park’s new name.
‘It’s a plan that has nature at its heart,’ he said. ‘I’m delighted to see them [Bannau Brycheiniog National Park] facing their challenges head-on and welcome the reclamation of the old Welsh name – an old name for a new way of being.’
Learn more about what’s on offer at the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.