Now this Devon tradition may seem quite strange, but bear with us. Each bonfire night sees thousands gather in the small town of Ottery St Mary to watch locals run through the streets carrying flaming barrels of tar on their backs. Still feeling bemused? We don’t blame you a bit. This spectacle has snowballed in the last few years after making headlines around the world, and now the crowds are bigger than ever.
The tradition of burning barrels in Devon goes back hundreds of years, although nobody knows quite when it started. What we do know is, the thrills of this event have made it world-famous, and it gets bigger every year.
If you fancy braving the tar barrel ritual we strongly advise you to arrive early to ensure a parking space in one of the two main car parks. It’s £10 per car in both of them, and there is strictly no parking on any of the town’s roads as they’ll be closed for the event. This is because the narrow streets throughout the town must be kept open for emergency services.
It may sound scary, but you don’t have to get to the front of the crowd or close to the barrels if you don’t want to, just make sure you can see. Delays getting in and out of the town aside, tar barrels is a truly Devon tradition and the kind of event you’re unlikely to see anywhere else, so it makes an unforgettable way to mark bonfire night.
5th November 2016