Flame filled traditional tar barrelling fun draws in the crowds

Credit: ITV News

Thousands of people packed Ottery St Mary to watch burning tar barrels being carried through the streets.

Barrel rollers, as they're called, lift the barrels onto their shoulders and run through the crowds.

Participators prep the barrels by coating the internal surface with coal tar, and then the barrel is stuffed with straw and paper to help it catch alight.

The melting coal tar keeps the flames going as it’s rushed through the town.

30 barrels are burnt with groups of people taking turns to carry it and pass it on. Credit: ITV News

The annual tradition of running through the streets of Ottery St Mary carrying a burning barrel has drawn thousands of spectators.

People pack the streets of the town on bonfire night as residents set tar-lined barrels alight and run through the crowds.

The right to carry the barrels passes through generations of local families. Credit: ITV News

The barrels become heavier and larger during the evening - by midnight they can weigh up to 30 kilos.

Barrel rollers start as young as seven. Credit: ITV News

Barrel rollers keep going until the barrel collapses. It's a long standing bonfire night tradition in Ottery. Residents have been doing it for more than 400 years.

During the evening both the experience of the barrel rollers and the the size of the barrels increase. Credit: ITV News
Prepping the tar barrel. Credit: ITV News