Flaming Tar Barrels – National Wonders

We’ve seen many amazing things on our tour of the nation’s wildest pastimes this year. From flying black puddings to Viking hoards, it’s been an experience to say the least.

But for our 2018 grand finale, we wanted to spice things up a little. So we headed out to Devon to find one of the country’s most infamous events, the Flaming Tar Barrels of Ottery St Mary.

What happens at the flaming tar barrels of Ottery St Mary?

Starting hundreds of years ago, with origins that differ depending on who you ask; the flaming tar barrels were originally rolled through the streets of many Devonshire towns every 5 November. However, the modern tar barrel is now carried on the backs of the good folk of Ottery, sending flames shooting into the sky! It is not only an amazing sight to behold, but a true honour and mark of courage to those brave enough to hoist a barrel over their heads.

This was easily Ben’s most dangerous challenge yet and as you can see from the video above, it wasn’t for the faint of heart. (We’re still glad we packed that suncream!) Think you could handle the heat? Well ask yourself; ‘Is this really how the UK spends Bonfire Night?

Discover more of Ben's adventures in other National Wonders episodes