As part of the research for Paranormal Cumbria I sought out a group of ‘fairy houses’ that have mysteriously appeared near Gelt Wood in East Cumbria.
The ceramic dwellings first appeared among the boles and tree roots in the summer of 2009, only to vanish in September – as the fairies explained when they emailed the local paper, it was just getting too cold for them.
The fairies have returned each subsequent summer, and in 2011 there were more than ever, with around 20 or so houses scattered over a two-mile area.
Several of the houses have evidence of their inhabitants’ lives, such as tiny wellington boots, wheelbarrows, letter-boxes, and rope ladders to reach front doors set high up in a drystone wall. One house close to the river even has a canoe.
This year, several people have left gifts for the fairies, in the shape of cards, letters, hand-made textiles, and chocolates.
Paranormal Cumbria will be published in 2012 and has a full history of fairy sightings in the county, including a plethora of twentieth-century reports of nature spirits, devas, gnomes and other denizens of the fairy otherworld.