The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is the kind of place you love to come to work to. It's so inspiring. Everyone here cares deeply about our planet. And with the world waking up to issues like our changing climate, our work just feels more important than ever.

CAT’s got an exciting future; we’re constantly looking to develop the visitor experience and have some big plans in the pipeline.

We've been doing this for decades

Long before it was mainstream to talk about climate change and sustainable living, a group of inspirational people set up CAT back in the 1970s. In those days the site was a redundant slate quarry.

They were passionate about living in ways that were kinder to the environment. Their vision was both practical and radical. They wanted to put ideas into practice. Since then the site has been a test-bed for all sorts of renewable technologies and eco ideas, ranging from early renewable energy installations to chemical-free growing and cooperative community structures.

Over the years, the once barren slate tip has been transformed into an amazingly abundant landscape of varied habitats.

Man stood on a ridge with landscape behind him.

Rob standing at the top of the Quarry Trail with the Centre and Tarren y Gesail behind him

Everyone is welcome

CAT is a great place to bring the whole family for a day of learning and adventure.

Kids will love exploring, learning about living and working with nature as they go, letting off steam in the adventure playground and trying hands-on displays about energy use and generation, recycling and the world beneath our feet. Our seasonal events for younger eco-warriors include den building and nature spotting, crafting and energy workshops.

Interactive displays, working examples, guided tours and trails demonstrate practical ideas in easy-to-understand ways.

Four children running in woodland.
Children meeting a giant mole in a cave tunnel.

Having fun on the Quarry Trail and meeting Megan the Mole

Kids will love exploring, learning about living and working with nature as they go.

Our surroundings are spectacular

Whilst you're here you'll get to enjoy being surrounded by our very special natural environment. CAT is located in the heart of the Dyfi Biosphere, a UNESCO-designated area of unique biodiversity.

There are 18 acres of sustainably managed woodlands, with the Quarry Trail running through them to help you explore. As you walk up it, you pass waterfalls, flower-strewn meadows and the reservoir that provides all of our water. At the top there are spectacular views across the valley towards the neighbouring mountain – Tarren y Gesail.

People also love wandering in our leafy and flower-filled organic gardens. And there are plenty of helpful tips to take away with you too, ranging from composting and seed saving to container gardening ideas and wildlife-friendly practices.

Beautiful forestry reflecting in a lake with beams of sunlight shining down.
A man walking through sunlit dappled Autumn woodland at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth

Tranquil trails and peaceful lakeside views

Just arriving is an adventure

To reach CAT, you take a ride up on our amazing water-powered funicular railway. As you climb slowly upwards, you emerge through the trees to views over the lush green countryside before arriving at the centre to continue your adventure.

It's all powered by water from our reservoir. It's pumped into tanks under the carriages coming down adding extra weight. They pull the upwards carriages as they descend. Once the carriages reach the bottom the water is pumped out of the tanks into the Dulas River. How about that for a smart idea!

You can also walk up if you prefer - it takes about 10 minutes. And there are disabled parking spaces located at the top, avoiding the walk.

The view from the funicular railway at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

Riding on the funicular railway

People come from all over the world to learn new skills here.

You can learn at greater depth

As part of a day out at CAT, you can explore a little deeper by booking one of our Visitor Experiences like Family Nature Detectives and Gardening for Nature.

And if you want to take your learning further, enrol on a day and or short residential course. They teach you almost everything imaginable about sustainable living - hands-on practical stuff that you can take away and use. Topics include how to build using cob and straw bales, introductions to solar and biomass heating systems, how to keep bees, how to make a composting toilet and woodland management.

We're also running our new Zero Carbon Britain online courses packed with information and proven technologies for creating a viable, thriving low carbon future.

A crop of small ripening tomatoes growing in a polytunnel.
The word Workshop carved into a wooden sign on a piece of tree trunk.
A steel bladed windmill used to pump water at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

Learn how to live more sustainably at CAT

Courses sell out fast though so make sure to book in early! If you come to visit there’s a free information service for answering any specific questions you might have too.

So, come and learn and be inspired to make positive changes in your life, whether that means small tweaks in home energy use, or even deciding on a complete change of career!

Further information

Discover how you can 'join the change' and find out about CAT's research, on-going work, workshops and sustainability courses on the Centre for Alternative Technology website

Keep up with CAT's latest news via their social media channels:

building with pitched roof, almost camouflaged, set in among green leafed trees and with green mountains in the background

Looking across the valley at CAT

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