Whether it’s Yr Wyddfa or Dinbych y Pysgod, many discussions regarding the preservation of Welsh place names have taken place this year.

Now, the Gelligaer and Merthyr Common is championing the use of Cymraeg across its land.

The Common - a roughly 3000 hectare expanse of rural upland stretching between Merthyr Tydfil, Rhymney and Bargoed - is the subject of a Welsh Government-funded project called Comin Cydweithredol.

Led by the Commoners Association, it aims to tackle issues such as flytipping and increase public engagement with the land, as well as the restoration and creation of wildlife habitats.

Two recently refurbished car parking sites in the area have been named Pen Garnbugail and Cware Mawr, which the Common says honours the local landscape and its historic uses.

Pen Garnbugail is a nearby mountain summit and the site of Carn Y Bugail ('cairn' in English), a burial mound dating back to the Bronze Age; Cware Mawr ('big quarry'), meanwhile, references a part of the Common formerly used as for quarry workings.

“The Welsh language is steeped in history and rooted in the landscape,” says a post on the Common's Facebook page.

“It is something that we can all be proud of and belongs to all of us, whether you are fluent or not.”

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This last point has particular relevance in the south east, where fluency in Cymraeg is much less common than in other parts of the country.

Welsh Government data published last week suggested that the local authority areas of Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent had the lowest number of Welsh speakers living within their borders, at 11,600 and 10,900 respectively.

Compare these numbers with Gwynedd, which has 90,700 Welsh-speakers, and Carmarthenshire, which is home to 94,600.

Similarly, the ten local authorities with the lowest percentages of Welsh-speaking residents were all located in the south.

“Historically, the Valleys would have been a stronghold of the Welsh language just as in other parts of Wales,” says Marc Ward, a ranger on the Common.

“Farmers’ fields here, their names are often related to animals, the vegetation, whatever it is.

“The language is for everyone, regardless of whether you’re fluent or not, and there’s been a clear growth of the language, even in south Wales.

“Some of the Welsh place names are still there on the Ordnance Survey maps, but there’s a risk of them being lost.”

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Carol Jenkins, General Secretary of Cymdeithas yr Iaith (The Welsh Language Society), agrees.

"The Welsh language belongs to everyone in Wales, and our place names are an important reminder of that,” she told The National.

“They connect every part of the country to our history and connect us all through the language.

“Reviving a language is a difficult process, but efforts have been held back by the continued failure of the Welsh Government and local authorities to ensure that people in every part of the country can learn the language and live their lives in Welsh.

“At the moment, 80% of young people leave school without being taught to speak Welsh - this is a fundamental injustice.

"That’s why we’re calling on the Welsh Government to ensure the new Welsh Medium Education Act sets a statutory aim to move towards Welsh medium education for all, so that every single young person leaving school in Wales can speak our national language."

The National Wales: A Gwynedd councillor in April proposed ditching the use of Snowdon entirelyA Gwynedd councillor in April proposed ditching the use of Snowdon entirely

Controversy over the Anglicisation of Welsh landmarks and place names has continued for years.

In 2016, campaigners fought against the renaming of a 14th century farm, Faerdre Fach, as 'Happy Donkey Hill' in Llandysul, Ceredigion.

The farm had been converted into holiday cottages, and its new owner, Kate Clamp, complained that its original name was bad for business, saying: “People can’t spell it, they can’t say it properly, and they definitely can’t remember it.”

Other long-standing rows include the nickname 'Sausage Island' given to Ynys-las off the coast of Ynys Môn, as well as using 'Cable Bay' rather than Porth Trecastell.

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