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“Very disappointing - seem to have lost their way”

Centre for Alternative Technology
Ranked #5 of 13 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 older children, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access
Reviewed 2 May 2011

As a firm supporter of an eco way of life and a previous visitor we were hugely disappointed when we took friends around CAT on the May Bank Holiday. The water vernicular was the first of many disappointments as it was out of use. However, when we arrived at the top we were saddened to see that other than expending time, money and effort on the new Wise Centre the majority of the displays have not been updated or maintained and any new displays had little or no information. Many of the display items, especially interactive ones just didn't work. It would appear that CAT are now putting all their energies into the Wise Centre and their courses very much at the expense of the paying visitor. On top of this there were no staff around the site to ask questions of and the staff in the shop appeared far too busy with what they were doing in the back office. Indeed when I asked if I could leave feedback they proved most unhelpful, as is their own website which is why I am putting this review here. Sadly, I could not recommend this 'attraction' any more and am highly unlikely to visit again.

2  Thank Brian G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"mole"
in 21 reviews
"sustainable living"
in 11 reviews
"vegetarian restaurant"
in 7 reviews
"a bit tired"
in 6 reviews
"interesting place"
in 12 reviews
"hands on activities"
in 5 reviews
"carbon footprint"
in 7 reviews
"slate quarry"
in 6 reviews
"new ideas"
in 6 reviews
"environmental issues"
in 6 reviews
"energy saving"
in 5 reviews
"rainy day"
in 10 reviews
"gift aid"
in 5 reviews
"cakes"
in 6 reviews
"cat"
in 110 reviews
"eco"
in 24 reviews
"shop"
in 47 reviews
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394 - 398 of 416 reviews

Reviewed 24 April 2011

I have been to CAT before when i landed on it by accident when visiting Powys, and somehow it always manages to draw me back. I have to confess that sometimes my sole indulgence is walking around and soaking up the colours of the flowers, the sounds of the birds in the trees and the children running around. However, when i visiited recently i made use of the Information Centre and was given a lot of advice face to face about taking on an eco refurb (the next big project) and whilst still having a lot to think about it is reassuring to know that there is someone only a phone call away who knows what they're talking about. I also hope to go on some of the short courses later in the year.

Thank graniapickard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2011

After paying £8.50 per adults and taking our two inquisitive children we found that most of the interactive exhibits were broken, large sections were roped off for repair, the gardens and areas indicating plant specimens were full of weeds or nothing at all and the section containing domestic animals had no animals at all. The whole place was run down and faded. This was my third and last visit, my first visit with my parents in the 80's and each subsequent visit has shown a steady deterioration. Less of a centre for cutting edge alternative technology and more of a centre for hippy chic living.

Thank sank66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2011

We spent some time here with the family - grandparents, parents and children - and found plenty to interest and occupy everyone. The water-powered lift took us up to a technological adventure wonderland, and the wide range of hands-on inter-active exhibits and activities - from solar power through to sewage recycling - are well designed and simply explained. The setting and views are spectacular, the staff very friendly and helpful, and the whole atmosphere relaxed and informal - definitely a place for letting everyone do their own thing.

1  Thank playfellow8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 April 2011

Loved the gardens and clean-tech exhibits. The ride up was fantastic and the views spectacular. Staff was friendly and knowledgeable, lunch was delicious. A great day!

Thank Janelle T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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