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Centre for Alternative Technology
Ranked #4 of 11 things to do in Machynlleth
More attraction details
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, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
Northampton, England, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed October 15, 2012

if you want to know just about composting, then its the place for you, we were looking for information on roof tiles,but no one knew anything about them, even though they were there. Even our daughter got bored.

Visited June 2012
3 Thank Carol K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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391 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A very interesting and engaging day out”
Reviewed October 2, 2012

It's a bit of a strange place being quite shabby in places but this became part of its charm once your brain gets in gear and realises that it's not a pristine laboratory you are visiting but a mend and make do, back to nature and educational treasure trove of ideas and working centre showcasing different ways of doing things. The newer buildings are very impressive and really fit in being a new generation of alt tech you could live with. The cafe was good, bear in mind veggie food though so no steaks and burgers for any meat heads. I had a great curry and coffee and the rest of the food on offer looked great. So long as you don't go expecting something like the polished Eden project and open your mind to something different i think you will enjoy your day.

Visited October 2012
Thank Peter W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingswinford, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Poor visit on 28/09/12:”
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.

Visited September 2012
3 Thank JimHeritage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level 4 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.
Surrey, United Kingdom
Level 5 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.

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