What is Black Mountains College?


We’re a new Higher and Further Education institution, located at the very heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales. Our aim is to get you ready for climate change, with new ways of working, thinking and living.

Join us for the first Black Mountains Summer School


Come to our idyllic retreat centre in the heart of the Black Mountains, Wales, and immerse yourself in a range of courses addressing the future and contemplating change. From investigating the big questions – where we have come from and where we are going, to building a better world – learning traditional skills for the future, join us in our programme dedicated to creativity, learning and adaptive thinking.

“Black Mountains College (BMC) represents possibly the most exciting and important development in education in the UK because it draws together the strands of the humanities and science into an un-siloed whole enabling students and teachers to understand the interconnections of all things in such a way as to tease out insights into a future that remains ours to make. The Eden Project strongly supports BMC and believes it to be a hugely important venture asserting the intellectual ambition of Wales to be a global leader in education”

Sir Tim Smit

“The prospect of BMC creating a new kind of graduate and a new kind of learning experience is incredibly exciting. Wales is a small nation but still has the potential to lead the world when it comes to green issues and wellbeing, and a locally inspired, globally relevant college as an international centre of thought leadership will be a massive regenerative boost to the country’s intellectual and fiscal economy. Most importantly, though, BMC will question how we can create such a boost without harming our environment and communities. Wales needs BMC, but so does the world.”

Cerys Matthews

“With BMC Powys and Wales have the chance to showcase a new kind of educational model for the future and a new way of living and working in harmony with our fragile planet. BMC shows us that another way of being in this world is not only necessary, but possible.”

Rosie Boycott

Black Mountains College

A college for the future

Black Mountains College will be a new kind of college in rural Wales. Dedicated to creativity, experimental learning and adaptive thinking, BMC will offer undergraduate and further education courses and professional development for teachers. BMC will produce undergraduates, skilled craftspeople and teachers schooled in creative methods and the latest technologies ready to confront the huge challenges facing our future generations.

More than a college

 Situated within the community of Talgarth at the gateway to Mid-Wales, the college will rest on three principles:
• Students as participants – learning and volunteering within existing businesses and organisations not just the classroom.
• Living Labs – the community as a venue for trialing ideas and as the first beneficiary of new investments, jobs and new thinking.
• Balance – in harmony with the present, with nature and with the future: looking after the elderly and the young as part of the architecture of the campus, and governing all practice with the trust of future generations in mind.

What can a place teach you?

 BMC rests on the idea that natural resources are not only a source of food and fuel but also the root of well-being and the wellspring of the imagination.

At BMC, the Brecon Beacons National Park is our classroom… and the landscape our greatest inspiration and teaching resource.

Black Mountains Summer School


Join Black Mountains College at Coleg Trefeca in the Brecon Beacons National Park this summer for a unique programme exploring what the future holds and how we can prepare for it.

Climate change will force humans to adapt and change. We believe that unlocking our innate capacity for creativity and experimentation is essential if we are to meet that challenge.

Black Mountains Summer School offers a collection of courses considering the huge changes upon us, experiencing the landscape in different modes and from different disciplinary perspectives to stimulate the senses to integrate new ways of seeing, thinking and being.

Located just outside Talgarth, Coleg Trefeca’s historic facilities at the foot of the famous Myndd Troed mountain create the perfect indoor/outdoor environment to learn new skills or new perspectives inspired by nature and natural systems.

Meals are taken together and will feature invited and impromptu guests and facilitated conversations over dinner. There is a footpath leading directly up the mountain behind the centre and a campfire on the edge of the grounds.

The Brecon Beacons National Park is the first international dark sky reserve in Wales. Guests are invited to sit out and star gaze with fellow participants.

The summer school is supported by Hay Festival

Our Partners


Course prices include all tuition, materials and full board in single self-contained rooms in the peaceful grounds of Coleg Trefeca’s landscaped gardens.

Open to all:

You won’t need any special knowledge or experience to take part in our courses. They’re open to everyone, unless specified.
Terms & Conditions

Our Venue

Coleg Trefeca is a retreat centre dating back to the 1700s. The original community at Trefeca was a self-sufficient non-conformist centre for rural crafts and skills.

A theological college was established in 1768 with six students expelled from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford for their religious beliefs. The college went on to have several incarnations, eventually merging with Westminster College, Cambridge in 1967.

Trefeca is still home to a small museum about Howell Harris, the community’s charismatic founder. Over 20,000 people are said to have attended his funeral in Talgarth in 1773. We are delighted that our first summer school should be in this place with such relevant heritage.


Coleg Trefeca has fourteen self-contained en-suite rooms in a modern block adjacent to the original chapel building. There are two large meeting rooms with views over the landscaped grounds and the countryside beyond.

There is wi-fi throughout the centre.


Served in the panelled dining room adjacent to both the kitchen and the library, the latter containing a rich selection of historical and contemporary works in English and Welsh. Meals are home-cooked by chef Linda and her team. If you have dietary requirements, please let us know and we will pass on the information to Trefeca.