A family portrait
Devon was a fantastic place to grow up, and like many young people, I moved away after school in search of work and quickly found myself in London. I spent the next 10 years working in London and abroad, as I progressed a career in Human Resources. While this was an exciting time with lots of opportunity, my connection to Devon and Cornwall had always been strong and it wasn’t long before I was plotting my return!
Now I’m back at Lee Byre, offering a fresh perspective on this unique and exciting part of Devon and Dartmoor National Park. When I was working in London, Devon was always the perfect city escape and one I regularly shared with friends and countless others on a Friday evening as we packed into Great Western trains for new adventures in the West Country. As a result of these trips, I decided to focus on walking holidays because Dartmoor not only offers a fantastic way to exercise and meet like-minded people but it also clears the mind and is, in my opinion, the perfect antidote to our otherwise busy and sometimes stressful lives.
When you come to stay, there are some other very significant characters you will meet at Lee Byre. Most certainly you’ll meet my wife, Kathrin Barnes, who has moved from Stuttgart, Germany, to start this new venture with me. She has been the source of the beautiful photographs on the website, Facebook and Instagram pages that hopefully you have enjoyed. As well as a working photographer, she is also a freelance media planner, which has been extremely useful for the promotion Lee Byre. She is a keen hill walker, although she lived with the Alps on her doorstep, so her idea of a ‘hill’ is very different to mine! She surfs (how we met) and is a wonderful Mum to our daughter Maya, who is always happy to send you a smile! :-)
Next, I would like to introduce you to my parents John (chief engineer and grass cutter) and Judy (resident artist and beekeeper) continue to live here and much of what you will experience at Lee Byre stems from them.
Be it the accommodation, a series of barns (or byres) that John restored by hand over 7 years. Or the beekeeping, painting and hill walking that are passions of my mother Judy. Certainly their love of Devon, the moors and the outdoors have inspired me. And last but not least our Spanador (half labrador, half spaniel) called Jessie! She always provides fresh inspiration for a hill walk.
We are often asked what does "Lee Byre" mean? Our name is special in that it gives the property a location and also meaning. 'Lee' means protective shelter, normally on the side of a hill or woodland. We are situated in front of Lee Wood, and on a valley side, above a meandering river, that offers fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. 'Byre' is old English for barn. Lee Byre is a series of 4 barns that were collectively used as part of a working farm for centuries, dating back to 1750. We have done our best to retain it's character and history and look forward to sharing this special place with you - our home.
To share our experiences of Dartmoor National Park and Devon, offering an exciting and diverse range of walks for all levels of ability; whilst providing an environment at Lee Byre in which you can unwind, stretch out and be yourself.
Whether you are an experienced hill walker or someone looking to try something new, the huge diversity of landscape in Devon and Dartmoor offers a rich and exciting experience with plenty of talking points. The Dartmoor ponies, giant granite tors, bronze age stone circles and ancient settlements are just a few. Or perhaps it’s some of the great pubs to explore in this region after a good dose of fresh air!
So this is us and we look forward to welcoming you at Lee Byre. We are a small family business with plenty of energy. We believe we’ve got something very special here and look forward to giving you a memorable holiday!
We look forward to meeting you!
Guy, Kathrin, Maya, John, Judy and Jessie