University Visits

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The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is an ideal setting for studying a wide range of subjects.

A ‘living laboratory’ with over 40 years of experience in sustainable issues, CAT can provide one easy package of teaching, hands-on learning, accommodation and catering.

Set in the Dyf Biosphere in the foothills of the Snowdonia National Park, CAT offers students the opportunity to live and learn in an education centre like no other. Situated between the mountains and the sea in an area of rich political history and biodiversity, CAT is within easy reach of ancient industrial sites and the upland habitats of Cadair Idris and Plynlimon (Pumlumon Fawr).

Students

Learning packages to suit your needs

Choose from ready-made or bespoke programmes for undergraduate and postgraduate students delivered by your own staff or by our expert tutors. Suitable for students of human geography, physical geography, environmental politics, ecology, environmental science, renewable energy engineering, architecture and green building materials and methods.

All teaching activities are led by subject experts and academics, and can be delivered in conjunction with your own teaching.

Sustainable building

CAT boasts a variety of innovative low-energy buildings, incorporating timber frame, straw bale and a 200-seat rammed-earth lecture theatre. We offer hands-on practice in a wide range of materials and techniques, such as hemp-lime plaster, timber framing, earth building, green roofs (SUDS) and others.

Ecosystems, ecology and habitat management

Study ecological processes and habitat management for biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services, using surveys, monitoring and identifcation in multi-useecosystems. CAT has seven different habitat types, including 20 acres of woodland, ponds, scree and an ancient quarry.

Renewable energy engineering

Hands-on workshops experimenting with solar thermal and photovoltaics, wind power, micro-hydro, biomass and heat pumps. All these systems are in operation at CAT.

Sustainable water use

CAT is self-sufficient in water. Hands-on learning on how we collect it, bring it to potable standards, manage and use it, for generating power as well as washing and cooking, and treat all out wastes according to our own high standards. All on-site using little energy and without causing environmental harm.

Zero Carbon Britain

Can the UK manage resource needs for industry, agriculture, transport and energy while reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions? How can it be scaled up to the global level? Our 8-year research project explains all, using lectures, debates and energy modelling tools.

Voices from the Quarry - the social history of CAT

Oral history data, an illustrative tour and interactive discussions explore the shift from a mining community, through the birth of the environmental movement, communal living and self-sufficiency to the challenges of the present day.

Accommodation

CAT has a number of accommodation options on-site. We have two 18-bed Eco-Cabins, the WISE building with 24 twin bedrooms, or the 'Self Build' house right in the heart of the visitor centre.
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Catering

For groups not staying within our self-catering accommodation, breakfast, served lunch, packed lunch and evening meals are available within the CAT Café, a popular and comfortable wholefood vegetarian café.
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Book your field class

CAT offers teaching, food and accommodation for your field class in one simple package.