Fairy Fair casts its magic at Holt Hall

Flocks of fairies fluttered around a North Norfolk woodland as they learned about nature the fun way.

Excited youngsters followed trails and made things which also taught them the names and folklore behind the trees and flowers around them at Holt Hall during the 10th annual Fairy Fair.

That is exactly what founder Sarah Wise planned when she launched the event a decade ago, but its popularity and the demand for fairy-inspired nature workshops across the country had surprised and delighted her.

It was comment from the former Greenpeace campaigner's daughter Amazon, when she was three, that sparked the idea.

'We asked what she wanted to do at the weekend, and she wanted to find fairies. When we asked where they were she said 'in the trees and woods',' she explained.

'We realised only 10pc of the population was into green issues, and this is a great way of introducing people to nature in a magical way, through three to eight-year-olds, who are into magic, fairies and wizardry.'

The first fair was one day with 'five tents and 400 people' said Ms Wise. Now 5,000 people were due to visit the event over its two days.

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Following a ribbon trail to the Fairy Queen's cosy flower-trimmed tent under a 900-year-old chestnut tree, children stopped at spots which told them what various trees were and stories related to them.

Among the workshops was making fairy crowns weaving leaves into willow witheys, combining craft fun with finding out about the plants they used.

Those kind of craft and story workshops are now in demand at other fairs as far afield as the West Country and Humberside, which was a surprise, said Ms Wise.

Her daughter Amazon, now 13, was among the army of 120 volunteers making the event tick. Her role was to run the Pixie Post Office where children coloured in post cards.

Elsewhere on the site trolls and pirates rampaged around entertaining the children, while in quiet corners of woodland the imaginations of small girls with wings took flight as they made fairy houses from twigs and cones.

Among them was Amberly Wright from Dereham whose mum Hayley said the fair was a 'fantastic concept' which got the children involved in life outdoors.

'They love it, and wherever we go - on holiday or in the back garden - they are always making fairy houses,' she added.

The Fairyland Trust which runs the event is still searching for a permanent base for its work, having narrowly missed out on a north Norfolk site in 2006.

The event continues today. Check the website www.fairylandtrust.org to see if any tickets are still available.

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