Fairies, fae and other magical beings are often found in stories and the lure of searching for them in our world can be encouraged. Anna Kemp shares some sites where you just may find someone magical.
Where to find a fairy
Into Goblyn Wood is inspired by folk tales and old fairy lore, but I also drew inspiration from places that I visited – ancient woodlands, stone circles, and elfin oaks, all said to be haunted by the fair folk. Here are my top five sites where you might just encounter a fae. But tread carefully. They don’t like to be disturbed!
* Megaliths and Barrows
Fairies have long been associated with standing stones, stone circles and barrows. In factsome are even named after them like Fairy Toot in Somerset and Elf Howe in Yorkshire. I first became fascinated with fairies after a winter visit to Oxfordshire’s Rollright Stones – a stone circle where fairies are said to revel. That morning, the frost was thick; the stones glittered in the sun. From that moment on I was completely and utterly ‘fae-struck’.
* Fairy Hills
Tradition has it that fairies live in a twilit world beneath the hills. You can recognise a fairy hill by its round shape and the thickness of the grass that covers it. Sometimes people enter them to feast and dance with the fair folk, but beware! Time runs more quickly in fairylandand many are the tales of those who emerge from a night of reveling to find that several years have passed.
* Fairy Trees
Fairy trees are precious to the fair folk and bad luck will befall anyone who dares harm one. Indeed, there is more than one story of roadworks being delayed because workers refused to chop down a tree beloved by fairies. My favourite fairy tree is the 900-year-old Elfin Oak in Kensington Gardens. In Into Goblyn Wood it is via the trunk of this ancient giant that Hazel (my heroine) finds her way into the fairy realm.
* Ley Lines
Ley lines are straight lines drawn between ancient sites and it is said that they channel the energies of the earth. While some ley-line believers think they serve as a guide for alien spaceships, others associate them with fairy presence. Into Goblyn Wood weaves together ley belief and fairy lore to create a world in which the flow of the ley is threatened, and fairies with it.
Although fairies can make their homes in human houses, mills or mines, they are more commonly associated with wild places: hillsides, fens and, above all, forests. Much of the scene-setting of Into Goblyn Wood draws on long lockdown walks in my local woods. There, I learned about flora and fauna with wonderful names like the candlesnuff fungus, the ‘lords and ladies’ plant and the mysterious nightjar. I’ve yet to see a fairy, but I like to think I’ve felt their presence in the everyday magic of the woods – haven’t you?
Into Goblyn Wood by Anna Kemp is published by Simon & Schuster Children’s.
Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation.