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“Poor visit on 28/09/12:”

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, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children
Reviewed October 2, 2012

I'm sorry to say that this centre wasn't worth the admission. As a self directed tour it of unclear, badly planned mismatch buildings and unkept gardens without any clear message or accessible information.

I guess it's message should be: What is your carbon footprint, what does it mean to the environment and the planet, what can you do to reduce it.

However, what little information is given is difficult to read, badly presented, often overwhelmed by technical information, it's displays dated and not working. Paired with an unclear route, any message they are trying to make is lost somewhere between the insect chewed cabbages and the semi-tame rats (Yes we saw plenty running about). At one point my wife an I were convinced we weren't actually suppossed to be in that area at all (Near powerstation / electrical plant (?!)) until we spotted a touch screen info point that gave such complex data related to the production of energy that was completely ineffective.

This centre very much assumes that you have an existing in-depth knowledge of environmental issues and does not attempt to build anything more then we should buy overpriced "right on" products, stop flying, and move to the country and own an overgrown veggie patch until we starve to death.

It's an interesting place to visit as you've no idea what's around the corner. There has been a lot of change since my visit 18 years or so ago, but now it's seems a mess without any kind of message for the daily visitor. It feels like a lot of effort is now dedicated to it's students (Paying more then the entrance fee im sure) and live in volunteers but it's forgotten that fundimentally it is an outdoor museum. Something that Eden project has got so right!

On face value it's a quirky shabby garden that's interesting to stroll about, but as an education centre for the average visitor it fails.

3  Thank JimHeritage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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317 - 321 of 402 reviews

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.

3  Thank jojo_from_essex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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!

Thank Paulione
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

1  Thank Stafford_Steve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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

Thank Sally C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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