BMC’s campus

We are thrilled that we have secured a 50 year lease on Troed-yr-Harn Farm. Troed yr Harn farm is 1 mile south of Talgarth, and will be our launch campus. 

We’ve been a bit quiet in the last year, but we have made huge strides in developing the college, planning the campus, refining the curriculum offerings, raising funds and forging partnerships.  

We are on track to launch further education courses in small groups in community settings from September 2021 and we hope to launch the BMC degree in September 2022. The farm campus will be run with advice and input from the Real Farming Trust, and will showcase agroecological and regenerative farming practices.  

The BMC degree will launch at the farm campus with 20 students, rising to 120 students over 4 years.  The maximum number studying at the Troed-yr-Harn campus is expected to be around 300. If demand is strong, we plan to expand into other premises in Talgarth.

The campus will be a site of learning for our further and higher education students, a venue for short courses and community events, and a demonstration site for demonstration side for agroecological and regenerative land use and community supported agriculture and community supported agriculture. We aim to be carbon neutral and is working with Talgarth Energy CIC and Green Valleys in a Powys-funded project to unlock opportunities for local energy generation.

County Councillor William Powell, who has been involved in the BMC project since its inception, said: “This is an exciting development for Black Mountains College and has the potential to boost the economic vibrancy of Talgarth, providing jobs, opportunities and education, whilst promoting a low carbon economy.  In a time of Climate Emergency, recently declared by Powys County Council, this is a vital, transformative project for the public, private and voluntary sectors to get behind.”

We are looking forward to working and consulting with the local community and are holding a webinar to answer questions about the plans on 3rd February, 2021 at 6pm, when we’ll be joined by Talgarth residents Cllr William Powell, Deputy Mayor Cllr Louise Elston-Reeves and Ann Rowson.  You can submit any questions in advance by emailing info@blackmountainscollege.uk, or ask them in the live chat of the event.

Questions & Answers.

We have pre-empted some of the questions, but are looking forward to answering many more:

Where is the campus?

The campus is 1 mile on foot, 2 miles via road south of Talgarth, a 120 acre farm called Troed Yr Harn.

How many people will be living there?

Based on our pre-planning discussions we expect around 20 students and up to 4 staff will be accommodated at the campus.  

Where will the rest of the students live?

Beyond the initial 20, additional students will be housed at other sites within Talgarth. We are in discussions with Powys Social Housing and several developers about bringing potential sites forward.

Will you be running any courses open to the local community?

As well as the FE and HE courses, BMC will continue to run short, free or low cost courses such as the ‘Apples for All’ event in February (subject to Covid restrictions), and further open courses later in the year. We hope and expect that the work to manage the campus will provide ample opportunities for working parties and learning days open to all. 

Will the college lead to an increase in traffic in the town?

No. Our aim is for the campus to be car-free. Students will be expected to travel on foot between the campus and Talgarth town centre. For deliveries, those with accessibility requirements and occasional visitors we are conducting a transport assessment that is investigating options such as an electric shuttle bus, e-bikes and possibilities for a car park and pedestrian access from the A479. 

What are the energy plans and how will the community benefit?

BMC is working with Talgarth Energy Co-Op and The Green Valleys CIC to develop renewable energy at the campus which would contribute to increasing generation capacity locally as part of an ‘Energy Local’ energy club that could reduce bills for members. We are at an early stage of investigations but we are looking at solar panels on roofs, and possibly some small scale wind generation.

How will the local community benefit from BMC being in Talgarth

The college will offer education and training locally in NVQs courses and an undergraduate degree otherwise unavailable in the county. It will be a source of jobs and opportunities, catalysing economic activity and regeneration of the town, supporting local businesses and boosting demand for local public services and transport links. In addition, the campus offers the chance to work with the college to develop community facilities such as allotments and orchards. 

I’d like to get involved, who can I talk to?

Thank you. This is a huge project and we are looking to build a team of volunteers who can help with a whole range of activities such as hands-on clearing up the farm, land management, upgrading footpaths, planting, supporting events, and fundraising. Please email volunteer@blackmountainscollege.uk

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