Eighteen miles northeast of Aberystwyth is MACHYNLLETH (pronounced “ma-hun-cthleth”), a bustling little place with a great vibe, as well being the undisputed centre of all things “New Age”, thanks in large part to the nearby Centre for Alternative Technology. The wide main street, Heol Maengwyn, is busiest on Wednesdays, when a lively market springs up; Heol Penrallt intersects this at the fussy clocktower.

Centre for Alternative Technology

After the oil crisis of 1974, seven acres of a once-derelict slate quarry were turned into the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), an almost entirely sustainable community. At one stage, eighty percent of the power was generated from wind, sun and water, but this is no back-to-the-land hippy commune. Much of the on-site technology was developed and built here, but with the rise of eco-consciousness the emphasis has shifted more towards promoting its application in urban situations. CAT’s water-balanced cliff railway  whisks visitors 200ft up from the car park to the beautiful main site, sensitively landscaped using local slate and wood, and you can easily spend half a day sauntering around. There’s plenty for kids, a good wholefood restaurant and an excellent shop. Check the website for summer residential volunteer programmes.

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