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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.

  • Heavy rain 15 °C

    11 °C

  • Cloudy 14 °C

    12 °C

  • Light shower day 13 °C

    9 °C

  • Sunny intervals 13 °C

    11 °C

  • Light rain 16 °C

    14 °C

  • Light shower day 16 °C

    13 °C

  • Cloudy 16 °C

    12 °C

Thursday (Thursday 19 October 2017)
Now 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00
Warnings
Light rain Heavy rain Heavy rain Heavy rain Heavy rain Light shower night Cloudy Cloudy Light rain
60% 90% 90% ≥95% 80% 30% 10% 20% 50%
Temperature (°C)
14 ° 14 ° 14 ° 14 ° 14 ° 13 ° 12 ° 12 ° 12 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
11 ° 11 ° 10 ° 10 ° 11 ° 10 ° 9 ° 9 ° 9 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
S 15 29 SSE 18 34 SSE 21 39 S 23 43 S 17 32 SSW 14 29 SSW 16 32 SSW 18 34 SW 17 32
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
M M P VG E E E E E
Humidity Expand
93% 91% 94% 92% 92% 89% 88% 90% 90%
UV index Expand
1 1 1 1
Sunrise: 07:42 Sunset: 18:13 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Friday (Friday 20 October 2017)
00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00
Warnings
Light rain Light rain Cloudy Cloudy Overcast Overcast Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Light rain Heavy rain Heavy rain Light rain
50% 40% 20% 20% 30% 20% 20% 10% 10% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% 10% 10% 10% 10% 20% 60% ≥95% 90% 50%
Temperature (°C)
12 ° 12 ° 12 ° 12 ° 12 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 12 ° 13 ° 13 ° 13 ° 13 ° 13 ° 14 ° 14 ° 14 ° 14 ° 14 ° 15 ° 14 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
9 ° 9 ° 9 ° 9 ° 9 ° 8 ° 8 ° 8 ° 8 ° 8 ° 9 ° 10 ° 10 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 12 ° 11 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
SW 17 33 SW 16 32 WSW 17 33 WSW 17 33 W 18 35 W 17 35 W 16 33 W 15 31 W 12 26 W 12 25 W 13 25 WSW 13 25 WSW 13 25 WSW 12 23 SW 12 24 SSW 11 22 SSW 12 24 S 14 28 S 16 32 S 17 34 S 18 37 S 20 41 SSW 19 37 SSW 16 32
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
VG VG VG VG VG VG VG E E E E E E E E VG VG VG VG VG G M M VG
Humidity Expand
89% 90% 89% 89% 89% 88% 86% 84% 81% 80% 75% 69% 63% 62% 63% 70% 74% 75% 77% 79% 85% 90% 93% 90%
UV index Expand
1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1
Sunrise: 07:44 Sunset: 18:11 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Saturday (Saturday 21 October 2017)
00:00 01:00 04:00 07:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00
Warnings
Light shower night Light shower night Partly cloudy night Partly cloudy night Sunny intervals Light shower day Light shower day Cloudy Partly cloudy night
30% 30% 40% 10% 20% 50% 50% 10% 10%
Temperature (°C)
14 ° 14 ° 13 ° 12 ° 13 ° 13 ° 12 ° 11 ° 10 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
11 ° 11 ° 9 ° 8 ° 9 ° 9 ° 8 ° 7 ° 7 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
SSW 16 32 SSW 17 33 SSW 20 39 SW 21 40 SW 24 46 SW 24 46 WSW 22 41 W 20 38 W 20 35
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
E E E E VG VG VG VG VG
Humidity Expand
88% 84% 77% 76% 74% 74% 76% 79% 76%
UV index Expand
1 2 1
Sunrise: 07:45 Sunset: 18:09 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Sunday (Sunday 22 October 2017)
01:00 04:00 07:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00
Warnings
Partly cloudy night Partly cloudy night Partly cloudy night Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Light shower day Cloudy Light rain
<5% <5% <5% <5% 10% 30% 10% 50%
Temperature (°C)
10 ° 9 ° 9 ° 11 ° 13 ° 13 ° 11 ° 12 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
6 ° 6 ° 6 ° 8 ° 9 ° 10 ° 9 ° 9 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
W 19 34 W 18 31 W 16 26 W 16 28 WNW 20 36 W 17 29 WSW 13 22 SW 13 23
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
76% 76% 76% 73% 72% 74% 81% 86%
UV index Expand
1 2 1
Sunrise: 07:47 Sunset: 18:07 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Monday (Monday 23 October 2017)
01:00 04:00 07:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00
Warnings
Light rain Light rain Light rain Light rain Light rain Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy
60% 60% 60% 50% 50% 20% 20% 20%
Temperature (°C)
13 ° 14 ° 14 ° 15 ° 16 ° 16 ° 15 ° 15 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
10 ° 11 ° 11 ° 12 ° 13 ° 13 ° 13 ° 12 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
SW 15 27 SW 17 29 SW 16 28 SW 16 27 SW 16 27 SW 16 27 SW 15 25 SW 15 25
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
G G M G G G G G
Humidity Expand
90% 91% 92% 93% 91% 91% 93% 94%
UV index Expand
1 1 1
Sunrise: 07:49 Sunset: 18:05 Moon phase: Waxing crescent Air pollution: 2
Tuesday (Tuesday 24 October 2017)
01:00 04:00 07:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00
Warnings
Light shower night Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Light shower day Light shower day Cloudy Cloudy
40% 20% 20% 10% 40% 30% 10% 10%
Temperature (°C)
15 ° 15 ° 14 ° 15 ° 16 ° 15 ° 14 ° 14 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
12 ° 12 ° 12 ° 12 ° 13 ° 12 ° 11 ° 11 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
SW 16 26 SW 16 26 SW 16 26 SW 16 25 SW 17 29 SW 17 27 SW 15 23 SW 14 22
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
G G G G G G G G
Humidity Expand
94% 94% 93% 91% 83% 83% 89% 92%
UV index Expand
1 2 1
Sunrise: 07:50 Sunset: 18:03 Moon phase: Waxing crescent
Wednesday (Wednesday 25 October 2017)
01:00 04:00 07:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00
Warnings
Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy
10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%
Temperature (°C)
13 ° 13 ° 13 ° 14 ° 15 ° 15 ° 13 ° 13 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
11 ° 11 ° 11 ° 12 ° 12 ° 12 ° 11 ° 11 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
SW 13 21 SW 13 20 SW 13 20 SW 13 21 SW 15 26 SW 14 23 SW 13 20 SW 13 20
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
G G G G G G G G
Humidity Expand
92% 93% 93% 90% 84% 85% 91% 92%
UV index Expand
1 1 1
Sunrise: 07:52 Sunset: 18:02 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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