CAT | Location | Travel | Accommodation | Accessibility

Download our Essential Guide for the festival here!

The Centre for Alternative Technology


The 2016 Small is Beautiful weekender takes place at the inspirational Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in mid-Wales, and we’re so excited about it!

Educational, inspirational and practical, CAT is the perfect match for the Small is… ethos.

Facilities & Area

Forward-thinking CAT doesn’t just talk the talk – it makes ‘alternative’ living the norm, and is just beautiful.

Its facilities are second to none, and are the perfect example of what vision and passion can achieve when thrown together.

The centre is situated in the Dyfi Valley Biosphere, surrounded by mountains and rivers, and it’s near the sea. Come for the festival – stay for a holiday!

CAT’s History

Founded in 1973, CAT was originally a small community working in a disused quarry to develop eco-friendly principles.

The Visitor Centre was added in 1975, helping the project flourish into the living laboratory it is today.

The site boasts seven acres of interactive displays and the largest range of installed renewable systems anywhere, EVER.

CAT Education

CAT recently built the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE). Its state-of-the-art facilities are the perfect venue for the Small is Beautiful Schumacher Lectures

WISE’s short courses and Master’s degrees are definitely worth checking out too.

Join us!

Experience a creative and invigorating weekend in this inspirational venue.

Buy your ticket to Small is Beautiful NOW!

Buy Tickets


Centre for Alternative Technology
Llwyngwern Quarry,
SY20 9AZ
Open Street Map

About the area

Our venue is in the heart of the Welsh countryside, in the stunning Dyfi Valley.

This special area has UNESCO Biosphere status – one of only 11 sites in the UK.

The nearby town of Machynlleth has been dubbed the sustainable capital of Britain by the Guardian.

Local wildlife

The valley is home to a rich variety of animal and plant life. Some is extremely rare, like the Agroeca dentigera spider which exists nowhere else in Britain.

The estuary is a wintering site for birds in the UK, and hosts white-fronted geese, breeding osprey and numerous waders, to name but a few.

Find out more

Thinking about turning your festival trip into a holiday? There’s plenty to explore!
Read more about why you should visit the Dyfi Valley from our friends at the Public Interest Research Centre, based in Machynlleth.

Travel: how to get to CAT for Small is Beautiful

Our venue, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), is easy to reach by public transport and road.

Read details of how to get to the festival and to sign up for walks and bike rides here.

Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for up-to-date information on car sharing, guided bike rides and walks to the site.


Machynlleth train station is just 3 miles from CAT.

The journey is 2 hours from Birmingham by direct train, and 4 hours from London.

Discounts are available by booking your tickets in advance, or by travelling in groups of 3 or more on Arriva Trains Wales services.

Bus from the station

Buses from Machynlleth station generally run every hour, Monday to Saturday.

The number 34 stops right by CAT’s car park.

Check the Dyfi Valley travel guide for bus timetables.

Cycling or Walking

CAT is an hour’s walk or 30-minute cycle from the station in Machynlleth.

Plan your cycle route using the Sustrans route mapping tool.

And sign up to our guided walks and cycles here.


Car parking is available at CAT, and there are facilities to charge up electric cars.

Use LiftShare to find a space or fill your car, and make your journey more environmentally friendly.

Visit the CAT website for full information on reaching Small is Beautiful.


Whether you enjoy the great outdoors, or prefer the home comforts of a real bed, there are plenty of accommodation options to suit you.

Guest rooms

CAT itself has a range of rooms available to festival-goers, starting at £20 per night.

Two cosy eco cabins nestle in the orchard, alongside the vegetable garden. Both have central heating, kitchen areas, and each accommodates 18 guests.

24 en-suite twin bedrooms are available in the WISE lecture theatre complex.

Above the restaurant is a 15-bed bunkhouse, or why not get a gang of 16 to stay in the self-build house?

To book accommodation at CAT, please contact Sarah, Conference & Events Coordinator

Direct line: 01654 704973



You can pitch your tent (or caravan or motorhome) at Llwyngwern Farm campsite which is right next door.

Other accommodation

Browse a full list of accommodation available locally, outside CAT’s grounds.


Accessing Buildings

The CAT visitor centre is fully accessible for wheelchair users. The centre is reached via the cliff railway, which has adapted carriages for wheelchair access.

All buildings on the CAT site have ramped or level access, and wheelchair accessible toilets.

Accessing Grounds

CAT is based in a hilly area, so some parts of the grounds won’t be accessible to wheelchairs. Most areas are serviced by level pathways.

Weather conditions can affect accessibility. We’ll keep you advised on the day in case of bad weather.

Assistance Dogs

Guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome at CAT.

Further information

To discuss any of your accessibility needs in more detail ahead of Small Is… Festival, please call or write to CAT’s Visitor Centre.

Phone: 01654 705 950