An emergency meeting of Wiltshire’s Local Resilience Forum met on Tuesday as the saturated ground became unable to absorb any more water.

Council officers and representatives of fire, police, ambulance, the NHS, MoD and the Environment Agency met at County Hall in Trowbridge to discuss the latest threat from persistent rain.

A council spokesman said: “The ground is totally saturated and so is flooding as there is nowhere now for the water to go.

“River towns such as Bradford on Avon and Malmesbury that were originally badly affected are much better off as the water levels in most of our rivers are down as they have somewhere to flow to. Even Staverton is passable.”

He said the south of the county around Salisbury was the worst-affected area but there were pockets of difficulty all over Wiltshire.

Homes and roads in the Salisbury plain villages of Tilshead and Shrewton have been flooded but many householders were prepared with their own pumps and were doing their best to keep dry.