Brecon Beacons National Park has reclaimed its original Welsh name as part of a new sustainability drive. Here's why.
The Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, UK, is dropping its English name and changing its logo as part of a new sustainability drive.
As of today (17 April), the park will be known by its Welsh name, Bannau Brycheiniog, meaning the Peaks of Brychan’s Kingdom.
Its former logo of a burning beacon will be replaced with one celebrating its heritage, landscape and status as an International Dark Sky Reserve.
The changes aim to better reflect the park’s vision for a greener future.
What are the Brecon Beacons?
Bannau Brycheiniog, formerly the Brecon Beacons, is a national park and conservation area in south and mid-Wales.
The 1,350-square-kilometre park encompasses rolling valleys, forests, lakes, waterfalls and caves, as well as prehistoric and Roman archaeological sites. It includes the town of Blaenavon - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and a large part of the park is designated as a European and Global Geopark.
Located just over an hour inland from the cities of Cardiff and Swansea, it is a popular nature escape for day trippers and holidaymakers, welcoming around 4.4 million visitors a year.
The park got its former English name from the Central Beacons mountain range, which includes south Wales’ highest peak, Pen y Fan. However, it covers a much wider area.
Beacons were signal fires that were lit on high ground in ancient times to warn of the approach of an enemy. This practice was nodded to in the park’s former logo of a flaming beacon, though there is no evidence of fire signals ever being used on its peaks.
Why is the Brecon Beacons reclaiming its Welsh name?
The name change is part of the park’s wider plan to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises.
It is billed as “a name from our past to take us into our future” in a stirring film created to launch the park’s new management plan.
The film lays out a vision of “a different kind of park” in which the “loss of species, plants could be reversed”, the skies could be “twice as full with birds”, the “nights thick with stars”, the rivers run “with life, not pollution”, and more carbon is captured than emitted.
The park’s new management plan aims to reduce its carbon dependency, tackle biodiversity decline, improve water quality, and manage high visitor numbers and traffic.
“Our response is demanded by the underpinning evidence base sounding the siren call of a system in collapse which is simply too deafening to ignore,” the park's chief executive Catherine Mealing-Jones says in a foreword to the plan.
How do you pronounce Bannau Brycheiniog?
Bannau Brycheiniog is pronounced Ban-eye Bruck-ein-iog. It is the old Welsh name for the park and is shortened to the Bannau.
Bannau is the plural of ban, meaning peak in Welsh. Brycheiniog refers to Brychan Brycheiniog, a legendary 5th-century king of the region.
How have people reacted to the name change?
There have been mixed reactions to the name change on social media.
Many have welcomed its embrace of the Welsh language and the park’s wider campaign for environmental reform.
“I've spent a lot of time enjoying the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, and I'm delighted to hear its intention for rewilding, repairing a damaged landscape and regenerative farming,” says English adventurer and author Alastair Humphreys on Instagram.
“Hopefully it's far more than just a name change (from Brecon Beacons) and it's the start of us really sorting out our wilder places.”
Not everyone embraces this sentiment, however. The decision has been branded as “eco lunacy” by pro-Brexit, right-wing journalist Martin Daubney on Twitter - something that one user dismissed as “English entitlement”.
Others have accused the park of “virtue signalling”.
Is the name change more than a rebranding?
The name and logo change is part of a wider campaign envisioning a greener future for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.
Over the next five years and beyond, the park’s management will focus on regenerative land management that encourages nature recovery and builds resilient ecosystems.
It will shift to renewable energy sources and a circular economy, with a goal to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. It will also support the introduction of sustainable public transport options to access the park and focus on programmes that connect people with the outdoors and nature.
Explaining the decision to change the park’s logo, Mealing-Jones told Sky News, “We're an environmental organisation so a giant, carbon-burning brazier isn't really a good look.” The park has also suffered wildfires in recent years.
In the new logo, the brazier that formerly held the flame is reimagined as a crown in a nod to the area’s ancient kingdom and Welsh heritage. Triangular shapes representing the park’s mountain skyline are undercut by a line symbolising its rivers and waterfalls. Above it, a star celebrates the park’s Dark Sky Reserve status.