The Legend of the Fairy Steps in Cumbria, England

If you’re near Beetham in Cumbria, UK you should take a detour to the legendary fairy steps. Local legend has it that if you make it to the top of the fairy steps without touching the sides, the fairies will grant you one wish. One wish! You’re thinking of wishing for unlimited wishes. I hope… The challenge issued doesn’t surprise me, as fairies are deviant and love a good thrill. The famed Fairy Steps are located just south of Beetham in the southern area of Cumbria, situated just 15 minutes from the Lake District.

The old village of Beetham.

The old village of Beetham.

If you’re interested in the Cumbria region’s fairy legend, this site has captivated my interest.

Carved into a giant boulder, the fairy steps were once part of one of the Lake District’s corpse trails. These trails were a route to transport the coffins of the dead. It was on these trails where the deceased would be carried to their burial at the nearby churchyard. In fact, you can still see some of the iron rings used to thread the ropes to haul the coffins up the rock face.

The legend of the Fairy Steps is one of many fairy legends stemming from the Cumbria region of England which is also no stranger to boggles and holy wells. These fairy steps are not a sacred fairy site, but still a fun legend to pass on when hiking in the Cumbria region.

The actual signage at the Fairy Steps site.

The actual signage at the Fairy Steps site.

As I researched this location, I came upon this resource, a PDF of EXACTLY how to access the fairy steps. 

If you head to the Fairy Steps, please feel free to share your experience below in the comments section. Be sure to tell me what you wished for if you complete the challenge 😉

As always your experience, suggestions and questions are enjoyed. Happy fairytale travels!

About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

6 Comments on this post

  1. It must have been a risky venture hauling coffins up there! Looks like a wonderful place to explore.

    Jo Woolf / Reply
  2. Do they say how many chances to try making it up the stairs without touching the sides you get? ‘Cause it would be just my luck to almost make it and then tip sideways for no reason, and I would sooo want a do-over!

    deshipley / Reply
  3. […] of fairy legend, holy wells, lush landscapes and is home to the Lake District. It is also where the Fairy Steps of Beetham can be […]

  4. I would argue that it is a sacred site, the fact that the coffin route runs up the stairs is proof enough.

    Lugh / Reply
  5. […] The fifth season of Once Upon a Time has seen the introduction of King Arthur, played by Liam Garrigan. English Arthurian legends tell of a mythical sword named Excalibur, buried hilt-deep in a stone and only able to be removed by the rightful king of England. As a boy, orphaned Arthur is tutored by the wizard Merlin, and grows up to succeed in claiming excalibur ruling England. […]

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