Weather in Wiltshire
As a nation, we are obsessed with the weather. Studies have shown that over half of us talk about the weather at least once day and check the forecast regularly before making plans and heading out. We despair when it rains, we swoon in the sun, we can't bear the sight of clouds in the sky, yet we hate the thought of hosepipe bans and appear to be spectacularly unprepared for extreme weather events, even when expected or forecast. The weather certainly seems to matter to most of us, but is extremely important to some those whose livelihoods and way of life can depend on the forecast. And for centuries, we've tried to predict the weather by looking at the sky above us and the landscape around us - the different ways in which plants, animals and the countryside around us can give us clues about what is coming and reflects what has been. For this week's Open Country, Helen Mark is in Wiltshire to find out about the ways in which the weather gets under our skin and impacts on our lives and on the landscape around us. Helen hears from meteorologist, Liz Bentley, about how her own obsession with the weather led to her setting up the Weather Club, an organisation for like minded souls who appreciate the weather for all its wonders. Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society explains how our lives would be immeasurably poorer without the clouds in the sky above us. Wiltshire farmer, Stephen Horton, has been collecting rainfall data for the last 25 years, having taken over from his father who did the same for 25 years before him and Helen also hears from National Trust Conservation Advisor about how Wiltshire has coped with the extreme weather conditions seen earlier this winter and how traditional seasons can actually help our flora and fauna.
Helen is joined by Ruth Binney, author of Wise Words and Country Ways to put to the test some of those centuries old countryside theories and sayings that we have used to predict the weather we get. Finally astrologer, David Rowan, explains how how astrology and the ancient wonder of Stonehenge have been used to predict the weather and the changing seasons.
Producer: Helen Chetwynd.