Heavy downpours and the anticipation of another 20mm of rain spark fears of unstable cliff faces and a landslide warning in south west England.

The landslide warning was issued following advice from the British Geological Survey. Coastal areas in the south west of England were believed to be in particular danger of collapsing cliff edges and

The landslide warning was issued following advice from the British Geological Survey. Coastal areas in the south west of England were believed to be in particular danger of collapsing cliff edges and rockfall, but all areas enduring heavy rain were at risk.

The Met Office urged Boxing Day walkers to take extra care: "We have had such heavy and persistent rain fall over the last few days and weeks and that there is a danger of landslides and rockfall along the coast, even on coastal paths," a spokesperson said.

The Environment Agency had 151 flood warnings in place, which urge residents to take immediate action against expected flooding, and 252 less severe flood alerts across most of England and Wales. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency removed all its warnings, with lighter showers expected only through the south-west of the country.

Rain moving eastward

"A band of rain was expected to move eastward across Wales and south west England today, with heavy rain falling mainly on areas that have already seen a lot, increasing the risk of flooding and causing river levels to remain high," Matt Dobson, a meteorologist, said.

While much of the misery has been felt in Cornwall (photo, above) and Devon, the wettest place in the UK since the heavy rain began last week was Tyndrum, a small Scottish village in Perthshire, with 6.1in (155mm) of rain. Cardinham, near Bodmin in Cornwall, was the wettest place in England with 5.1in (128.8 mm) of rain.

About 470 UK properties have flooded since Wednesday. Floodline said it has received 18,000 calls during the recent wet weather.

The worst affected areas have been south west England and stretches along the south coast, along with Wales and northern Scotland.

Dreaming of summer

As many as 20 per cent of holidaymakers were to start their search for a getaway break today with more are putting a foreign holiday at the top of their spending priorities, a survey by tour operator Thomas Cook found.

In a similar poll last year, just a third of responders said an overseas break was their main priority. This year's poll reveals the figure has risen to 47 per cent.

"After stuffing ourselves with turkey and unwrapping our presents yesterday, research tells us that this year Boxing Day will see millions of families up and down the country start to think about booking their summer holiday," Thomas Cook sales and ecommerce director Mike Hoban said.

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