PEOPLE are being warned of the dangers of floods and landslides after heavy rain in West Dorset .

Flash floods hit villages near Bridport on the weekend before Christmas Day and stormy weather is set to continue this week and over new year.

The Met Office has warned of the increased danger of landslides in the south west - including west Dorset.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: “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.

"We are advising walkers to take particular care in these dangerous conditions, especially those not familiar with the area.

“Do not get too close to the cliff edge or walk under the cliff face along the beach and remember that coastal paths could be impacted too.”

Before Christmas, the open-air nativity in Bucky Doo Square in Bridport had to be cancelled because of heavy overnight rain.

The A35 was shut between Monkey’s Jump roundabout at Dorchester and Bridport on Saturday morning due to flooding.

Homeowners at West Bay were also warned to be on guard amid a series of flood alerts for rivers across the area.

The road through Burton Bradstock was also badly affected by floods with motorists struggling to get through the water.

Staff at Burton Bradstock Cars gave customers a lift home as the waters began to rise.

Salesman Richard Vincent said: “We had to move a lot of cars on the site and gave customers who couldn’t get home a lift.

“We’ve kept their cars safe in the compound.”

Mr Vincent said members of Burton Bradstock Parish Council visited homes in the village prone to flooding and dropped off sandbags.

Organisers decided to cancel the outdoor nativity in Bridport amid concerns about putting on the production in the open air – including staging, electrics and spectators standing in pouring rain.

The Rev Philip Ringer, who is chairman of Churches Together in Bridport and District, said: “It is a huge disappointment that we have had to cancel.

“It is only the second time in the long history of the Bridport Nativity that we have had to do so because of the weather.

“Some people think that clergy have special connections when it comes to influencing the weather.

“My response is that I am in sales not management.

“I hope and pray that people will buy into the message of the birth of Jesus in their local churches this Christmas.”

Earlier in the week routes across West Dorset were under water – including the road from Litton Cheney to Burton Bradstock.

Flood wardens in Charmouth were kept busy watching the river levels and checking on properties at risk.

Flood warden Mike Watmore and his deputy Shay Devine were making checks.

Dolphins River Park in Berne Lane, Charmouth, lost 23 out of 35 caravans in the July floods.

Manager Terry Gilbert said at midnight the flood alert had been upgraded to a warning in the week before Christmas but the water stopped short of spilling over the banks.