Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels 2015 - road closures and information

Ref 46-04-7519TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Ref 46-04-7519TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Visitors are urged to heed safety advice ahead of the world-famous event on Thursday

With the famous tar barrels set to roll in Ottery St Mary again, revellers are asked to respect the tradition to help keep it alive.

The world-renowned November 5 event is an annual highlight in the town’s calendar, attracting thousands of visitors - but more than that, it is a way of life for many generations of barrel rollers.

Amid spiralling insurance costs - up from last year’s £18,000 - organisers are asking people to adhere to restrictions and follow advice to help prevent the event becoming a ‘victim of its own success’.

The children’s event will kick-off at 4pm by the Canaan Way car park and the bonfire will be lit at 6.30pm, ready for the main event at 7.30pm – which will see men and women, carrying flaming barrels of tar, run through the town.


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Carnival committee chairman Rob Wickham said: “The event is mainly for the townspeople, but we welcome visitors, as long as they know what they are coming to and just really respect our conditions and take on board the safety aspect to it.

“It is a dangerous event - it’s not a place for children from 7pm. We are trying to ensure it’s as safe as possible for an unsafe event.

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“The reason we put parking and things in place is because we need emergency vehicles to have access to the town.

“To a certain extent, we are a victim of our own success.

“Because it is such a world-renowned event, many people want to come and see it.”

Road closures will take effect from 5pm on Thursday, November 5, and this year cars will be directed to park higher up Exeter Road.

The allocated parking field owned by the Nancekeville family can accommodate all cars heading to the event and there will be a designated drop-off zone for those who do not wish to park.

Residents, who live within the road closures boundary, will be allowed through with a permit, or proof of their address, such as a utility bill or driver’s licence.

Compulsory parking will be in force from 5pm, so anyone without proof will be asked to pay £10 to park and a receipt can be issued, which can be redeemed later at Lovell’s Garage with proof of address. Otter Nurseries, in Gosford Road, is once again opening its car park for the public to use with a fee of £10 for cars and £100 for coaches. Funds raised are split between the committee - to help pay for future events - with the remainder going to charity.

For more information, visit: www.otterytarbarrels.co.uk

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