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“Very run down and shabby”

Centre for Alternative Technology
Ranked #4 of 11 things to do in Machynlleth
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) has been inspiring visitors about sustainable practice for over 40 years. With seven acres of hands-on displays, examples of environmentally responsible building, renewable energy, organic gardens and kids’ holiday activities, there is something for everyone at CAT. Follow CAT’s interactive Zero Carbon Britain Trail to discover how to live enjoyably in a world with reduced emissions. Or, winding up through managed oak woodland, the Quarry Trail opens up never-before-seen areas of CAT and breathtaking views of the Snowdonia National Park. On special evenings, the Quarry After Dark programme allows guests to experience CAT after the visitor centre has closed. This diverse programme of events boasts live music, talks, late night tours, film screenings and exhibitions. Nestled in a historic slate quarry CAT site is a little uneven in places and a lot of the displays are outdoors so please wear sensible footwear and waterproof clothing. During the winter months we close the Cliff Railway and some of the outdoor trails due to the unpredictable weather, please keep an eye on our website for updated information.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Very run down and shabby”
Reviewed September 30, 2012

My partner and I visited last week. My partner had been previously, around 25 years ago and had often spoken to me about how great it was, looking to the future and alternative technologies... sadly he was very disappointed. The displays were not well kept, some seemed to have just been "abandoned" and the information was either out-of-date or just badly worded as to give the wrong meaning.

Once we learned that the centre had given up their ethic of using renewable fuel and switched to Propane (a fossil fuel! - propane is a nonrenewable energy source. That means we cannot renew our propane supplies in a short time.) we lost interest and came to the conclusion that they had totally sold out.

Visited September 2012
3 Thank jojo_from_essex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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375 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Surrey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
71 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“So much to see, makes you think”
Reviewed September 24, 2012

Second visit, both times rain, but never mind, such dedicated people. We took friends they loved it, good to see many students around the place doing post graduate alternative technology courses. Full of enthusiasm, initiative and we discussed so much, what we do what we could do, how useful that looks, let's buy that!

Visited September 2012
Thank Paulione
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stafford UK
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“C.A.T. was never intended to be Alton Towers”
Reviewed September 20, 2012

We return almost every year, often at different times of year, once arriving to an almost frozen-tight New Year's Day. This year we went at the end of the summer season, the first week after the kids had gone back to school, expecting to find that after a summer's hard wear it would all be a tad too tatty. Instead we found everything was working, the displays still interesting, and the new teaching facilities in operation (and explained by enthusiastic members of staff). We like the cafeteria, and being on holiday found the prices not too expensive. But if you expect steak and chips you are going to be disappointed, and the exhibits are not on a par with the Science Museum. Those reviewers who were expecting this level of presentation, and comment upon more information being available on Wikipedia, have IMHO missed the point. This is a long term illustration of alternative ways of doing things revolving around the re-use of mining waste on a steep site with few obvious potentials. It is mostly for the general public and not the expert, a place for the family, albeit with a recognition that financial security necessitates an increasing concern for education and conference provision. I suspect we will be back next year, if only for a cafeteria Sunday lunch and a few more ideas for our raised bed back home.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank Stafford_Steve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
60 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“A great lunch”
Reviewed September 14, 2012

A really good fresh vegetarian meal and a HUGE portion. We were only there for lunch as we had to go somewhere else but will return next year

Visited September 2012
Thank Sally C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bradford, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Definitely enviromentally friendly!”
Reviewed September 10, 2012

I was particularly fascinated by the water propelled railway. If you're concerned about the environment, then thgis place will give you plenty of ideas.

Visited September 2012
Thank Glenn L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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