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Tar barrels

Tar barrels

Sat 5 Nov 2016

Tar barrels is a tradition that takes place around Bonfire night in Ottery St. Mary.

In the 12 months leading up to the event, barrels are lined and soaked with coal tar. On the night of tar barrels, the barrels are lit and carried through the streets of Ottery St. Mary while thousands cheer on the barrel-rollers.

The origins of the tar barrels are unknown however stories lead us to believe it began post the gunpowder plot of 1605 as a way of either fumigating cottages or as a warning of the Spanish armada.

Lighting barrels is a tradition that takes place in various locations in the South West however Ottery St. Mary is recognised worldwide for carrying the tar barrels on their backs.

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  • Cloudy 19 °C

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  • Cloudy 19 °C

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  • Cloudy 19 °C

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  • Sunny intervals 20 °C

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Monday (Monday 21 August 2017)
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Drizzle Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Overcast Overcast Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Partly cloudy night Partly cloudy night Partly cloudy night
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WSW 4 11 SSW 3 10 WSW 3 9 WNW 3 7 W 4 10 WNW 6 11 WNW 5 10 W 7 10 WNW 6 10 W 5 9 W 4 7 W 3 7 SSW 4 8 S 6 10 S 7 12 SSE 7 12 SSE 7 13 SSE 5 11 ESE 4 9 ESE 4 8 ESE 4 7
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
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0 0 0 0 1 1 2 3 3 4 5 4 4 3 2 2 1 1 0 0 0
Sunrise: 06:09 Sunset: 20:22 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Tuesday (Tuesday 22 August 2017)
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Partly cloudy night Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Mist Mist Fog Mist Overcast Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Light shower day Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Sunny day Sunny day Sunny day Sunny day Sunny day Clear night Clear night Clear night
<5% <5% <5% 10% 20% 20% 20% 20% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 30% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5%
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ESE 3 8 SE 3 9 SE 3 9 ESE 3 9 ESE 3 9 ESE 4 10 ESE 4 11 ESE 5 12 ESE 7 14 ESE 8 16 ESE 9 18 ESE 10 20 ESE 10 21 ESE 11 23 ESE 12 24 ESE 12 25 ESE 13 26 ESE 13 26 ESE 13 26 ESE 13 26 ESE 12 25 SE 11 22 SE 9 18 SSE 8 15
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
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97% 97% 97% 97% 98% 98% 98% 98% 97% 95% 93% 91% 87% 85% 82% 81% 81% 82% 82% 85% 87% 89% 92% 93%
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0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 3 2 1 1 0 0 0
Sunrise: 06:11 Sunset: 20:20 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Wednesday (Wednesday 23 August 2017)
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Partly cloudy night Partly cloudy night Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy
<5% <5% 10% 10% <5% <5% 10% 10% 10%
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17 ° 17 ° 14 ° 14 ° 15 ° 17 ° 17 ° 16 ° 14 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
S 6 10 SW 5 8 W 9 17 W 8 14 W 11 20 WSW 11 21 WSW 11 20 WSW 10 18 WSW 8 13
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
G G VG VG VG VG VG VG VG
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94% 95% 91% 89% 75% 67% 69% 78% 88%
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0 0 0 1 3 5 2 1 0
Sunrise: 06:12 Sunset: 20:18 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Thursday (Thursday 24 August 2017)
01:00 04:00 07:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00
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Cloudy Partly cloudy night Sunny day Sunny intervals Cloudy Sunny intervals Cloudy Cloudy
<5% <5% <5% 10% 10% 10% 10% <5%
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14 ° 14 ° 14 ° 17 ° 18 ° 18 ° 17 ° 15 °
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13 ° 12 ° 12 ° 15 ° 16 ° 15 ° 15 ° 13 °
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SW 8 13 SW 8 13 SW 8 14 WSW 11 21 WSW 13 25 WSW 14 25 WSW 12 20 WSW 10 16
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
VG VG VG VG VG VG VG VG
Humidity Expand
92% 93% 92% 76% 68% 71% 78% 86%
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0 0 1 3 5 3 1 0
Sunrise: 06:14 Sunset: 20:16 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Friday (Friday 25 August 2017)
01:00 04:00 07:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00
Warnings
Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Sunny intervals Partly cloudy night
10% <5% <5% 10% 10% 20% 10% 10%
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14 ° 14 ° 14 ° 16 ° 18 ° 19 ° 17 ° 15 °
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13 ° 12 ° 13 ° 15 ° 17 ° 17 ° 17 ° 14 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
WSW 9 14 WSW 8 13 WSW 7 11 W 8 15 WSW 8 17 WSW 8 16 WSW 7 11 WNW 5 8
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
VG VG G VG VG VG VG VG
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91% 92% 92% 82% 75% 73% 78% 90%
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0 0 1 3 5 2 1 0
Sunrise: 06:15 Sunset: 20:14 Moon phase: Waxing crescent Air pollution: 2
Saturday (Saturday 26 August 2017)
01:00 04:00 07:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00
Warnings
Clear night Cloudy Cloudy Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Cloudy Cloudy Clear night
<5% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%
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14 ° 13 ° 14 ° 16 ° 18 ° 19 ° 18 ° 15 °
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13 ° 13 ° 13 ° 15 ° 17 ° 18 ° 17 ° 14 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
NW 6 8 NNW 6 9 NNW 7 10 N 8 14 ENE 8 16 SE 8 15 E 7 11 E 7 11
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
G G G VG VG VG VG VG
Humidity Expand
92% 93% 93% 83% 75% 74% 79% 88%
UV index Expand
0 0 1 3 5 3 1 0
Sunrise: 06:17 Sunset: 20:12 Moon phase: Waxing crescent
Sunday (Sunday 27 August 2017)
01:00 04:00 07:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00
Warnings
Partly cloudy night Clear night Sunny intervals Sunny day Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Partly cloudy night
<5% <5% <5% <5% <5% 10% 10% 10%
Temperature (°C) arrow down
14 ° 13 ° 13 ° 16 ° 19 ° 19 ° 18 ° 16 °
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Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
13 ° 12 ° 12 ° 15 ° 17 ° 17 ° 17 ° 15 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
N 8 12 N 8 12 NW 8 12 NW 9 16 S 10 19 SSW 9 17 NNW 8 14 NW 8 13
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
G G G VG VG VG VG VG
Humidity Expand
90% 91% 92% 80% 71% 74% 79% 85%
UV index Expand
0 0 1 3 4 2 1 0
Sunrise: 06:19 Sunset: 20:10 Moon phase: Waxing crescent
< Ottery St. Mary last 24 hours Issued at:

5 November - Check the Ottery St. Mary weather forecast if you are heading to tar barrels this bonfire night.

Tar barrels and the weather

Tar barrels takes place regardless of the weather, however weather conditions make a considerable difference to the number of visitors that come to the town. Tens of thousands of visitors arrive in Ottery St. Mary for the barrels each year and the numbers are steadily increasing.

Becoming a barrel-Roller

Becoming a barrel-roller is a highly sought after position in the town of Ottery. St. Mary. The tradition of becoming a barrel-roller has been passed through many generations of families from the area.

The evening consists of 17 barrels being lit across the town. The barrels in the late afternoon are the boy's barrels which are the smallest. The women's and youth barrels then take place in the early evening, followed by the men's barrels in the evening.

The barrels are lit from pubs and hotels across the town until the midnight barrel, which is the largest barrel and takes place in the town square.

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