Knowing what the weather was going to do was as crucial to a good harvest as ensuring a successful washday. A wealth of  observational knowledge and experience of local conditions was passed from generation to generation. An abundance of berries in autumn meant a hard winter, birds nesting high in trees in the spring meant a good summer.

Seaweed hung outside cottage doorways told if it was going to be wet or fine. If cows were lying down it was a sign of rain. Those who worked the land every day noticed changes in visibility and the way sound carried in different conditions. Many locals said that if you can’t see the Dorset coast from Brook it means good weather ahead.  In an area with a predominantly south-westerly airstream the sayings included: Wind in the east, three days at least; Rain before seven, clear before eleven; Mackerel sky, mackerel sky, never long wet, never long dry. Observing birds and animals also helped forecast the weather as when seagulls fly inland to the foot of the downs it is likely that stormy weather is on its way.