- Brecon Beacons now officially known as Bannau Brycheiniog National Park
- “Old name for a new way of being” says Michael Sheen
- Park aims to achieve net zero by 2035
- Huge plans to address climate and biodiversity emergencies
ONE of Britain’s much-loved National Parks is reclaiming its Welsh name. The Brecon Beacons National Park will be known as Bannau Brycheiniog – or informally as ‘the Bannau’.
The new name, which takes effect today – the 66th anniversary of the Park’s designation – is pronounced Ban-eye Bruck-ein-iog.
The name is derived from the plural of ‘ban’, meaning ‘peak’ while ‘Brycheiniog’ refers to the old kingdom of King Brychan. Translated, it means ‘The Peaks of Brychan’s Kingdom’.
With the central Beacons mountain range covering a small proportion of the Park’s geography, and history showing no evidence that burning beacons ever existed on the Park’s summits, it was felt the area warranted a title more in keeping with its Welsh heritage.
The change is part of the implementation of a new management plan designed to address the climate and biodiversity emergency and directly addresses problems the Park faces.
A series of projects are underway with partner organisations to attempt to halt, and reverse, the impact of climate change in the 520 square mile Park. Schemes include:
- 16,000 hectares of peatland restoration
- One million new trees being planted
- Water quality improvement, including getting rivers to bathing water quality standard across the Park
- A focus on sustainable farming for an improved local food economy
- Curlew population recovery
- Creation of wildlife corridors to link habitats
- Floodplains to hold water, encouraging diverse plants to thrive in order to store both carbon and nutrients
- Sustainable transport solutions, including park and ride pilots between Merthyr Tydfil and Brecon
- Encouraging everyone into nature
Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Chief Executive, Catherine Mealing-Jones, said:
“With four million plus visitors to the Bannau each year, we know we can’t put a fence around nature – we have to be proactive. 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.
“We want to create thriving and sustainable places celebrated for their cultural and natural heritage. If we get this right, Bannau Brycheiniog can be an exemplar for other National Parks to follow.
“Reclaiming our old 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.”
Welsh actor Michael Sheen helped to launch the plan in a short film written by award-winning author Owen Sheers.
Michael Sheen said: “National Parks have a vital role to play in providing for nature, for people, and for our shared future. Bannau Brycheiniog National Park provides so much more than beauty and inspiration.
“They are invested in providing a fair and sustainable future for all, with a plan that has nature at its heart that aims to ensure society’s needs are met within our planetary boundaries. It marks a step-change in the way national parks can operate. I’m delighted to see them facing their challenges head-on and welcome the reclamation of the old Welsh name – an old name for a new way of being.”