Welcome to the Yorkshire fairy sanctuary that you can visit

A York family who run a glamping site have opened a magical fairy trail in a hundred-acre wood on their land.

A fairy house on the Northwood Trail
A fairy house on the Northwood Trail

The van Outerstorps own Jollydays, a luxury, 'off-grid' and self-sufficient rural campsite close to their 18th-century farmhouse, Northwood, near the village of Nunnington, on the outskirts of York.

Their land includes Buttercrambe Wood - a 'magical' forest which has enchanted visitors since the family took it over in 2008.

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A fairy house on the Northwood Trail

Christian, Carolyn and their four children have now transformed the 100-acre wood into a fairy sanctuary, with fascinating trails, houses and treetop walkways for the miniature creatures, as well as a willow maze.

They've even opened a museum based around a fictional narrative involving a Victorian professor fascinated by the possible existence of fairies - an obsession for 19th-century 'spiritualists', a movement whose members included Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - and inspired by a real-life van Outerstorp ancestor.

The displays include costumes, writings and artifacts and are believed to form the world's largest collection of fairy memorabilia.

The elven thrones in Buttercrambe Wood

The new attraction is aimed at both adults and children and encourages visitors of all ages to explore the natural world.

The forest has tiny bridges, homes and a dancing ring for the fairies, and is also an important habitat for a range of wildlife.

Christian and Carolyn owned a fireplace design business before moving to Northwood with their children Galatea, Angel, Midori and Alto, who are all involved with the running of the glamping resort and its sister site, North Star Club in East Yorkshire.

They've recently opened a licensed cafe-bar and are hoping to expand the attraction further in future.

Carolyn van Outerstorp inside the on-site fairy museum

"We've always loved North Yorkshire, and we wanted to run a business that was involved in the local area and complemented family life. We managed to scrape together enough investment to set up the glamping site - we'd seen safari tents in Africa when we were younger and always wanted to do something similar in England," said Carolyn.

"Guests love Buttercrambe Wood and for about four years ago now we've wanted to do a fairy trail. It's always appealed to children and we wanted to enhance that.

"The woods really lend themselves to the fairy element - the trees have natural 'doors' for the fairy houses and we've collected bits and pieces along the way. Some of the items in the museum have been loaned to us."

Northwood's owners, the van Outerstorp family, have been restoring Buttercrambe Wood for several years and have now opened a fairy trail

Carolyn reckons around a third of the visitors to the fairy woods - named the Northwood Trail - so far have been adults without young children.

"The intention was that it appeals to everyone - it's not overtly child-like, which has struck a chord with people. Our oldest visitor was in her mid-80s! It's a beautiful walk through lovely woodland and we have the cafe as well.

"We wanted to get away from the idea that children need to be constantly entertained and distracted. It's all about getting them outdoors to explore a place - it's not Disney-fied at all, there are no rides or cartoon characters."

The Northwood site also includes several natural ponds that Carolyn eventually hopes to convert into a fairy harbour.

"We are constantly evolving - the core of our idea is to get kids back to nature and develop imaginations. We want people to spend time in our woodland for the health benefits."

The Northwood Trail is open all year round. Entry is £8.90 for adults and £6.90 for children aged 3-15. Tickets must be purchased in advance here.

A grotto inside the fairy museum