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On its 66th anniversary, the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales has announced it will officially only use its Welsh language name – Bannau Brycheiniog. Taking effect on Monday 17 April 2023, the switch is part of a wider change to celebrate the history and heritage of the region and also address environmental challenges.
In the early middles ages, Brycheiniog was an independent kingdom (named after King Brychan) with borders that today roughly align with the perimeter of the national park. The name Bannau Brycheiniog means ‘the peaks of Brychan’s kingdom’.
By reverting to its original name the hope is to inspire and reconnect people and become better custodians of the land.
‘It just felt the right time to reclaim the old name for the area. It reflects our commitment to the Welsh language,’ said Bannau Brycheiniog National Park’s chief executive, Catherine Mealing-Jones. ‘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 it, at least straight away.’
Bannau Brycheiniog covers approximately 520 square miles of south and mid Wales, and attracts about four million visitors a year, an area known for its rich industrial history, which has see the former coal-mining community of Blaenavon awarded with Unesco World Heritage status. Recent environmental reports however indicate major concern including 30% decline in farmland birds since the 1970s and its local rivers falling dangerously short of pollution targets.
With plans to build renewable energy schemes, plant a million trees and restoring 16,000 hectares of damaged peatland, the park’s management look to reverse wildlife declines across the park and aim to reach net zero carbon emiisions by 2035.
Bannau Brycheiniog becomes the second of Wales’ national parks to have undergone a name change following Eryri, formerly Snowdonia and subsequently the renaming of its highest peak now officially Yr Wddfa.
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