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Tar barrels on fire: The 400-year-old Devon tradition is back

Thousands turned up to the Bonfire Night event. Credit: ITV West Country

Thousands of people turned up to watch what is probably one of the West Country's most curious traditions.

Barrels soaked in tar were set alight and carried through the East Devon town of Ottery St Mary on the shoulders of some of its residents - a Bonfire Night practice that dates back to the 17th century.


Flaming tar barrel spectacle in Devon town

Thousands of people descended on Ottery St Mary in Devon on Bonfire Night to watch a tradition that dates back to the 17th century.

Barrels soaked in tar are set alight and carried through the town on the shoulders of residents.

You would have thought that this event would be history in this health and safety conscious age but it happens every year. Take a look:

Tar barrels take to the streets of Ottery St Mary

Don't try this at home! Credit: ITV News

The centuries old tradition of running burning tar barrels though the streets of Ottery St Mary was celebrated last night, 5 November.

Organisers say they're determined to keep the tradition alive despite obvious health and safety concerns.

It means a lot for the town. It brings in a lot of revenue but it keeps the town as a separate identity. There's nothing else like it in the whole world so we're intending to keep it going for the future generations.

We never sit back on our laurels. We keep working harder each year to make sure it keeps going on the same format.

– David Strawbridge, Organiser

Bridgwater fireworks to start Guy Fawkes Carnival with a bang

Fireworks display Credit: PA

A fireworks display will be held in Bridgwater tonight [Friday] to prepare the town for the annual Guy Fawkes Carnival.

The Carnival will take place tomorrow for the first time in years to make it more accessible to families

There'll also be a fairground at St Matthews Field.

The event is organised by Bridgwater Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council.