The Millennium ExperienceChronicle of the Future

A little trust can move mountains

30.06.18: THE PEAK District is now a couple of hundred miles nearer to London, courtesy of the Countryside Trust.

Visitors to the trust's virtual landscape park, which is built on a former firing range near Warminster on Salisbury Plain, can admire perfect replicas of well-known beauty spots in the Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District and Dartmoor.

The park, already labelled Disneydale by its critics, does have a serious purpose.

"Our great landscapes have long been unable to cater for all the visitors who want to see them," said the trust's chairman, Basil West.

"The quota system has been very effective but it does mean people sometimes have to wait a whole year for tickets to a really popular landscape venue such as Dove Dale. Now they can see it here instead."

The replicas were created using a range of techniques, from earth modelling to sculpted light. There is a cunning blend of the "real" and the virtual. More than 5,000 living trees and shrubs have been planted, but many others have their roots only in the designers' imaginations. The same is true of sheep, cattle and ponies ­ even the occasional silhouetted hill-walker is as likely to be a light-sculpture as a live human.

Distant waterfalls are simulations. Those adjacent to the visitors' walkway are fed from an underground reservoir and will deliver a cold shock to anyone who doubts their veracity.

Virtual weather effects mean that eve