Faeries and Pixies of Exmoor

The Faery Folklorist offers numerous tales of the Fair Folk of Exmoor and nearby areas in the West Country of England. The common name for such beings in this part of England is either pixie (in Devonshire) or pisgy/piskey (in Cornwall).

I think it’s about time more attention was paid to the extraordinary fairy folk and pixies of Exmoor! These wonderful little characters are often sadly overlooked and overshadowed by their more famous relatives, the Piskies of Cornwall and Pixies of Dartmoor. Below you will find a beginners guide to the fairies and pixies of Exmoor, including their habits and habitations, and an insight into their curious behaviour.



Spriggans: Unpleasant Cornish Sprites

tornadoSpriggans are a type of faery being from Cornish mythology. They are associated both with storms and stone ruins. By most accounts, they are closely related to pisgies (aka pixies). In fact, some suggest they are the same sort of being, with pisgies more mischievous and spriggans more outright malevolent. Others say spriggans came originally from Brittany, where they were called korreds. If this is so, their affinity for winds suggest they may be descended from the Crion family of korreds, those most firmly associated with whirlwinds. Spriggans send storms to blight crops.

These fae are also closely associated with the cromlechs or standing stones that dot the Cornish countryside. Like all fae, they love to cause mischief to those who offend them. They sometimes steal away mortal children, leaving their ugly changelings in their place.

They are often found at old ruins, cromlechs, and barrows guarding buried treasure and generally acting as faery bodyguards. As guards to both standing stones and hidden treasures, they correspond very closely to the Breton korred. They are also busy thieves and expert kidnappers of children.

Spriggans serve as slaves or warriors of more powerful fae. Some believe they are the ghosts of former giants, as they have the ability to swell to enormous size. They are also said to have a giant’s strength. They are often charged with guarding buried treasure.

In addition to their sour disposition, these fae are described as being grotesquely ugly. Like their korred cousins, spriggans love music and dance. Though their appearance and temperament are often distasteful, it is said that their music is quite beautiful.