There are many magical stories told on the islands of Guernsey and many of those are local fairy tales passed down through generations over time.
On the south-western point of the island on the Pleinmont headland is a place known to locals as the Fairy Ring or 'La Table des Pions'. It is one of Guernsey’s best-known folklore sites, a mysterious dug out circle surrounded by stones. It is said that walking around the ring three times and making a wish will see it granted by the fairies, or “pouques” as they are known locally.
The Fairy Ring at Pleinmont
Whilst local folklore links the site to witches, elves and, of course, fairies, in reality history unfortunately deems it much less magical than that. The dug-out was historically used by island officials as part of the ‘Chevauchee’ when inspecting roads and coastal defences up until 1837. The Chevauchee was a biannual parade designed to check the Chemain du Roi, or path of the King, was clear of obstructions so dignitaries could travel around the island freely. The ring was near the point they stopped to eat. Officials of the Royal Court would have a specially constructed tent to dine in, but lower ranking ‘pions’ would have to eat at the dug out in the open air. The Chevauchee dates back to the 1700s so there is no real detail in the folklore of when the fairies spent their time there!
Le Creux ès Faies
The supposed entry point to the underground fairy world lies at Le Creux es Faies, Guernésiais for “the fairy cave”, a prehistoric passage grave on the L’Eree headland. Le Creux ès Faies is a well preserved Megalithic passage tomb dated between 3,000 to 2,500 BC.
The passage is affectionately known as the entrance to the Fairy Kingdom in Guernsey folklore. It was thought that fairies came out at midnight on moonlit nights to dance on the Mont Saint and Le Catioroc. Soldiers barracked at L’Eree also used the tomb as a den, so to stop this it was filled with rubble by the Officers.
The tomb is located on a small headland to the north of L'Eree Bay on Guernsey's west coast. With an excellent information board near the entrance, Le Creux es Faies is well worth a visit. This fascinating cave, built in the Neolithic period, can be accessed for your own exploration. The entrance is always open, so can be entered… if you’re brave enough.
While, sadly, border restrictions prevent us from allowing visitors, be sure to bookmark this post for your future visit to The Islands. We have missed hosting tourists on our islands and we look forward to welcoming you back to our shores when it is safe to do so.