Thursday, 15 December 2016

If you go down to the woods today: Go fairy-hunting

Fairy doors popping up in Oxfordshire said the BBC local news headline. Oh boy! Where were my wellies? I'm a sucker for imaginary worlds in the woods. The Magic Faraway Tree was my favouritest book in the whole world when I was a kid.

But where EXACTLY did we need to go to find these doors? It wasn't easy to find out, but eventually Google threw up some (enticing) directions: Cross the railway and go over the canal bridge. When you see the fairy wishing well on a tree by the gate, you'll know you're on the right path...

"Can I ask my friend William if he wants to come with us?" asks my daughter. "Yes, absolutely...[I stop, think] ... but maybe use the word 'elf' or 'gnome' rather than 'fairy' when you invite him..." [I'm being realistic, not sex stereotyping!]. He's up for it. And his mum says she's not missing out. We have our gang of fairy/elf/gnome hunters.
After a while, we start to wonder if we're on the right path. We've found nothing. And then there it is, a tiny wishing well with a super-cute rope ladder. 
And we're off, darting here and darting there, eyes scanning tree trunks, scrutinizing branches, till we make each delicious discovery. 
We linger over the details of the doors...
"A Chinese fairy must live at this one," says my daughter ...
"Can we make our own door and put it here?" says William. 
We know, they know, that there aren't actually any fairies, but it doesn't matter. It's exciting and happy-making all the same because it's out-of-the-ordinary, unexpected, mysterious. Someone (who?!) had the lovely idea to create these delightful doors and secretly crept around (at night?!) putting them in place. It merges the real world with the magical world of hidden, non-human creatures upon which so many children's books are based: The Borrowers, The Hobbit, The Indian in the Cupboard...

I half expected, half hoped Moonface would pop his head out of a tree to say hello. 

But anyway, let's get real. Want to go find these fairy doors for yourself? Send me a fiver and I'll tell you where they are. 

If you like this, you might like A fairy lives in our house. You can find out more about the Oxfordshire fairy doors hereYou can also go fairy-hunting at Gelt Wood, Brampton, Cumbria. Fairy doors have mysteriously appeared there every summer since 2010.


  1. So darling. My girls would go bananas over this. Who doesn't love fairies!?

  2. How lovely! I'm relatively local and never heard about these! May well be investigating over the Christmas hols! #FabFridayPost

    1. Happy hunting, Sonia! This should help you find them:

  3. This is really cool. I wish there are some around here too. My kids would absolutely love them! Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

    1. Perhaps you could make some in one of your art club sessions and then install them in a nearby woods?!!

    2. Perhaps you could make some in one of your art club sessions and then install them in a nearby woods?!!