Fairy door

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Fairy door at Monmouth, Wales.

A fairy door is a miniature door, usually set into the base of a tree, behind which may be small spaces where people can leave notes, wishes, or gifts for the "fairies". Fairy doors are easily spotted by fairy's if they are pink or surrounded by shells. If it is your first time talking to the fairy ask questions about their life. Friendly fairies respond to notes. Only one fairy can access the door and be your friend.

Fae Door Legend Sketch 1590c

The Fae Door Legend, is that of a traveling door, given to a human, so that they may have access to the fae, and their realm. Legend states that a daughter of a brewer woman, had been going through trouble and the townsfolk had grudges against her for fear her mother was a witch. Late one night, the towns folk came to confront her mother. The daughter had woken up from the noise while the mother still slept, only to see a fae at a door, gesturing the daughter to come in. As soon as the mob came knocking at the door. The mother ran to get her daughter, only to see a door laying on the ground, wide open, with light coming through. She picked it up as the villagers set fire to the straw on her house. In nearby woods, she placed the door down at the base of a willow tree, and as she tried to open it, it wouldn't budge. She heard her daughter call out to her, but she couldn't ever open the door, so she carried it the rest of her life, waiting for the door to open once again.

Uses and materials[edit]

Fairy doors can be purchased commercially and many are public art installations crafted by unknown artists.[1] They can be crafted from a wide variety of materials and many architectural styles, and are not obligated to follow a woodland theme. Some fairy doors have working parts such as key holes with working locks and doors with working lights, as in the case of a fairy door located in the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor, Michigan public library.[2] Doors do not have to include the functionality of opening and can be painted or glued onto the building or tree where it is installed.

Some parents and guardians use fairy doors to stimulate their children's imaginations and prompt creative thinking, describing the fairies as creatures that use their magical powers to protect children from bad dreams, grant their wishes if they are well-behaved, and replace lost teeth with small rewards.[3]

Notable past and present fairy doors[edit]

Fairy door in Corvallis, Oregon.

Fairy doors can be found in many locations, most of which are attributed to anonymous artists.

  • Golden Gate Park, San Francisco: In 2013Tony Powell, author Tony Powell, with help from his son Rio, placed a fairy door that was hand-crafted with stain-finished wood, complete with a drawer-pull door handle and brass hinges, another measuring a foot tall. The door was removed by park officials shortly after its installation, but was replaced with a new door due to public outcry.[4] Ironically, the door with two tiny brass hinges was removed for concerns of damaging the tree, but was replaced with a door the park officials had made by tracing the removed, beyond-repair door onto wood, and had one giant steel hinge.
  • Alameda, California: "An urban art movement of tiny doors hitting the curbs, trees, and public spaces on the Island and spreads a little whimsy."[5][6][7]
  • Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor: A series of small doors that typically replicated the doors of the buildings they were installed on or in.[8]
  • Putnam, Connecticut: The downtown area has a dozen fairy doors created by different artists. Each door is stylized to represent the major American cities: New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Nashville, and New Orleans.[9][10]
  • Portland, Oregon: The city has two fairy doors in a northeast community garden. The doors are housed in a miniature fairy garden within the community garden. The fairy garden holds a hotel, a Ferris wheel, and an archery field.[11]
  • Maricara Natural Area, Portland, Oregon: Several doors were installed in the area and were well received by most locals. The doors were eventually removed by an anonymous environmentalist vandal posing as a Parks and Recreation worker. They also posted a falsified notice from Parks and Recreation that cited city codes as the reason for the door's removal, prompting Parks and Recreation to clarify that they did not remove the doors.[12]
  • Wayford Woods, Crewkerne, Somerset: About 200 fairy doors made of different materials and by different artists were installed along the woodland trails, leading to an increase of tourists. As the town was unable to deal with the increased tourism and garbage began to accumulate along the woodland trails, the doors were removed by trustees.[13]
  • Saratona Park, Grand Forks, ND

Alongside a trail around a lake.


Reception for fairy doors have been mixed, as proponents claim that the doors are entertaining and can stimulate the imagination while critics claim that the doors can cause damage to property or surrounding flora and fauna.[1] Residents in the small town of Crewkerne, Somerset complained over a series of 200 fairy doors that had been installed in the nearby Wayford Woods as the village's infrastructure was not equipped to deal with the amount of tourism that the doors attracted.[14] The townspeople also complained of increased garbage along the wood's trails, leading to the woodland's trustees removing the fairy doors.[13]

Critics also argue that some fairy doors are overly gaudy and garish.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Don't do away with the fairies: we need to relearn our sense of the magical". The Guardian. 2015-03-04. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  2. ^ "Your guide to Ann Arbor fairy doors". MLive.com. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  3. ^ "The fairytale start-up helping children's imaginations run wild". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  4. ^ "The tiny tree door saga continues". City Insider. 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  5. ^ Reim, Victoria (2016-03-03). "An Alamedan's Guide To The Secret World Of Fairy Houses". alamedaoakleaf.com. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  6. ^ Casey, Laura (2017-12-14). "Fairy door craze takes over Alameda's Webster Street". eastbaytimes.com. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  7. ^ Pearlman, Eve (2016-03-10). "Mouse or Fairy Doors Spring Up in Alameda". alamedamagazine.com. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  8. ^ "The Wee Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor, Mich". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  9. ^ "A Guide to Putnam's Fairy Doors". Visit CT. 2016-05-01. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  10. ^ "Hidden Connecticut: 30 Tucked-away Gems to Visit". Connecticut Magazine. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  11. ^ Tabora-Roberts, Toni. "More On The 'Tiny' Beat: Tiny Doors In Trees". www.opb.org. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  12. ^ Mayer, Stephen. "City worker impostor destroys beloved park decorations". KATU. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  13. ^ a b Morris, Steven, 2015 "Disenchanted Woodland Trustees Banish Fairy Doors", The Guardian, 23 August 2015, p. 22.
  14. ^ "'Fairy control' to halt tiny doors in Somerset woods". BBC News. 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2017-05-31.