WATER levels in many rural areas were yesterday dropping, but experts have warned they may rise again.

River levels on the Thames have held steady, or even dropped in places such as Dorchester and Northmoor, data yesterday showed.

As of yesterday afternoon, the river level at Northmoor Lock was 1.07 metres upstream, and 3.67 metres downstream. This is still well above normal, but is lower than recently recorded levels.

However, the Environment Agency said that levels will start to rise again from today because of more rain.

The agency said: “Properties closest to the River Thames and smaller watercourses remain at highest risk. Residents should remain vigilant.”

Desra Barratt, holding manager of the Barley Mow pub in Clifton Hampden – another area hit by flooding in recent days – said: “The water seems to have dropped since last night.

“The road seems better.”

The pub was closed yesterday, but Ms Barrett is unsure whether it is worth re-opening today.

She said: “I’m still not sure about how many people can actually drive through it. If people can’t get here, it’s just not worth opening – it’s a waste of staff. I need to go and find out what the driving conditions are before I can decide.”

In Bablockhythe, where more than 20 people have been rescued by firefighters since the weekend, floodwaters remained at similar levels yesterday when the Oxford Mail went to visit.