THE decision by a national park to be known by its Welsh name only has caused controversy this week.

The Brecon Beacons National Park announced earlier this week it is to be known solely by its Welsh name, Bannau Brycheiniog

It is the second national park to make the change from bilingual naming to Welsh-only, with Eryri National Park doing the same and dropping ‘Snowdonia’ last year, with ‘Snowdon’ also now being referred to as Yr Wyddfa.

Walkers approaching summit of Pen y Fan
Brecon Beacons
Activities and Sports
The national park is the second in Wales to change its name to Welsh only (Crown copyright)

“Bannau” is the Welsh word for ‘peaks’ and “Brycheiniog” refers to the 5th century king Brychan who ruled over the area.

The decision has split opinion with Plaid Cymru calling it a "positive step in normalising the use of Welsh" and the Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, Fay Jones, saying people have been ‘taken aback’ by the decision, adding: "People who live and work in the national park... want to celebrate Welsh culture. But why not use the Welsh name alongside the English name?"

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also got involved in the debate, with his spokesperson saying he was sure people would continue to use the national park’s English name.

Cambrian News reporter, Alex Bowen, has taken to the streets of Aberystwyth to find out what people in the town think of the change.

Tim Colley
Tim Colley (Cambrian News)

Tim Colley moved to Wales from Yorkshire when he married his Welsh wife.

Mr Colley said that he considers himself more Welsh than Yorkshire and was in favour of the change.

Mr Colley said: “I’m quite happy for the Brecon Beacons to be called by its original native name, as I did when Snowdonia changed to Eryri.

“I believe it’s every country’s individual right to name things as they see fit as much as it’s every individual’s right to identify as they see fit, it should be the same for countries as well.”

Gareth Owen
Gareth Owen (Cambrian News)

Gareth Owen held similar views. Mr Owen said: “I think it’s a very good thing, there’s a precedent already of changing names to the Welsh, such as Eryri. I think it’s a good movement and it will continue in other places as well.”

Peter Cox
Peter Cox (Cambrian News)

Peter Cox comes to Wales regularly on holiday. Mr Cox and his family ‘love’ the history of Wales, and try to ‘adopt’ as much of it when they come.

Mr Cox said: “I like it, I think it’s nice because it’s in the native language. When we come on holiday we try to adopt as much of the native language and native way of life. I think the language should be alive and kicking a bit more and I hope it’s used more.

“I’ve always loved the history and I’ve brought my kids up with it when we go on holiday. They still feel like that today after growing up. It’s important for Wales to still be culturally independent even though we're all part of the UK. It’s its proper name.”

Some worried the name may cause confusion for tourists who know the national park as the Brecon Beacons.

Carolyn Martin Knee Ginsberg
Carolyn Martin Knee Ginsberg (Cambrian News)

Ms Carolyn Martin Knee Ginsberg said: “The name will be difficult for English people to say, if it’s known only by its Welsh name. If they signpost it bilingually with the Welsh name on top, and the English underneath, then I would see it as a worthwhile change, and everybody’s happy. ”

'John' also gave his views (Cambrian News)

Another man, known as John, said: “I feel that it’s more confusing for tourists and Wales relies on tourism, especially that part. I can imagine tourists who are heading to what they think are the Brecon Beacons struggling to find them.”