According to folklore a fairy path (or ‘passage’, ‘avenue’, or ‘pass’) is a route taken by fairies usually in a straight line and between sites of traditional significance, such as fairy forts or raths (a class of circular earthwork dating from the Iron Age), “airy” (eerie) mountains and hills, thorn bushes, springs, lakes, rock outcrops, and Stone Age monuments. Ley lines and spirit paths, such as with corpse roads, have some similarities with these fairy paths. A fairy ring is also a path used by fairies, but in a circle, for dancing, as described by poet W. B. Yeats, "...the fairies dance in a place apart, Shaking their milk-white feet in a ring,..." The concept is usually associated with, but not limited to, Celtic folklore, especially that of Ireland.
Fairy paths and dwellingsEdit
In some parts of Ireland, Brittany and Germany there were fairy or spirit paths that while being invisible nevertheless had such perceived geographical reality in the minds of the country people that building practices were adapted to ensure they were not obstructed. A significant number of the characteristics of fairy paths are shared in common with ley lines. In many parts of Northern Europe the round barrows were the traditional homes of the fairies, elves, or trolls and were avoided by the country folk. Such places were Fairy Toot in Somerset, Elf Howe barrow near Folkton, Yorkshire, and a round barrow at Beedon in Berkshire. Cornwall was and is a stronghold of fairy lore: fairies are said to dance on Carn Gluze, near St Just in Penwith. In Danish Jutland there was a belief that "Barrow-folk" dwelt in barrows and were descendants of fallen angels cast out of Heaven. Likewise, it was considered bad luck to let cattle graze on any place where the Elf-folk have been, or to let the cattle mingle with the large blue cattle of the elves. However, all evils may be averted if one were to ask at an "Elf-barrow" for permission to graze cattle on their mound. Some Danish "Elf-barrows" included one near Galtebjerg, another not far from Kalundborg; one between Thisted and Aalborg that was said to be the home of an elfin smith; two near Sundby where a troll-smith would ride from one to the other followed by his apprentices and journeymen; and one at Tröstrup where according to legend a giant was buried, and it was said his daughter wandered across the fields and one day met a ploughman who she took back to her father who then set the man free fearing that they'd be driven out of their barrow. In Sweden similar beliefs existed and one barrow called Helvetesbacke ("Hell's mouth") that lies near Kråktorps gård, Småland, was claimed to be the burial mound of Odin. In Germany the Wild Troop of Rodenstein was said to ride a staight path between the castles of Rodenstein and Schnellert. Also throughout Europe are Corpse roads, which are generally believed to be of the same basic belief as fairy paths and most likely share an origin. In Germany and the Netherlands in particular, these tend to be straight invisible lines and are known by a variety of names including Geisterweg ("ghost-way" or "ghost-road") and Helweg ("hell-way" or "hell-road") in German and Doodweg ("death-way" or "death-road") in Dutch. A similarly straight road did however run straight over various burial mounds at Rösaring, Lassa in southern Sweden.