Image for Flaming Tar Barrels: Experience a Night of Fire and Controlled Chaos in Ottery St Mary!

November 5th is more often than not associated with fireworks and a bonfire, so you’ll be forgiven for not knowing this tradition in South Devon which sees the town painted in a magical colour of reds and oranges.

The night consists of tar barrels being lit and then a magical procession and show begins which is quite simply breath-taking and a spectacle which definitely needs to be witnessed. The weeks before November 5th sees the barrels soaked with tar, which are then let outside of their corresponding pub on the night. Once the flames pour out of the barrels, they are hoisted on the backs and shoulders of people and carried throughout the town.

It’s an absolutely magnificent night which ends with one of the biggest bonfires you’ll likely witness and the memories of the glowing embers will burn into your mind for years to come.

And on that note, fire can be incredibly beautiful, with the complex combinations of different shades dancing in the wind and devouring anything it touches, but it can also be very dangerous. This event isn’t suitable for children or anybody who has limited mobility. It also sees huge crowds of people, into the thousands, which can add to the dangerous aspect of the night. Please be very careful if you go.

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