WATCH: Actor Michael Sheen Helps Wales Rebrand One of the UK’s Most Rugged National Parks

WATCH: Actor Michael Sheen Helps Wales Rebrand One of the UK’s Most Rugged National Parks

Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales is getting a new name. And actor Michael Sheen is here to explain why. 

This week, the park formerly known by the English name of Brecon Beacons released a short film starring Sheen to explain why the park is rebranding to adopt the old Welsh name of Bannau Brycheiniog (pronounced ban-aye bruch-ay-nee-og). 

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“An old name for a new way to be,” Sheen says in the video, which features dramatic views of the park’s rugged, deep green mountains. “A name from our past, to take us into our future.”

The park is a playground for mountaineers, trekkers, and trailrunners, who flock to the area to climb Pen y Fan, its highest peak, with an elevation of 2,907. The mountains are known for their challenging terrain and occasionally extreme weather, which makes the park an ideal place for guide training.

The rebranding video starring Sheen explores human impacts on the environment of Bannau Brycheiniog, including litter, the danger of fossil fuels, and declining bird populations. As part of the rebranding, Future Bannau has published a comprehensive plan to address these threats over the next generation. By 2035, for example, the park aims to have net-zero greenhouse emissions. They aim to achieve this in part by increasing public transportation access and electric vehicles, and decreasing the number of gas-fueled cars that drive through the region.

The name change comes as many communities across the world aim to reconnect with and honor indigenous history by renaming peaks, parks, and even cities to more traditional names. Wales has worked hard to protect its culture and language from disappearing as Welsh speakers have declined dramatically in recent years. Today, fewer than a fifth of Wales speaks Welsh, according to statistics from the UK government. Government communications are always available in Welsh, and if you drive through the country you’ll see road signs primarily in Welsh with English translations.

The decision to rename the park involved at least two years of consulting the community and other stakeholders, a park spokesperson told the BBC this week after the rebranding was announced on Monday, the park’s 66th birthday. 

“We have reclaimed our Welsh name in line with this feedback and adopted a new brand to represent a step change in our ambitions and outlook,” the spokesperson said.