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. When I was working in London, a trip to Devon and Cornwall 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 developing a unique stay experience in the beautiful Byres I grew up in, complemented with a range of ‘mini-adventures’ that can be taken up in this region. From wild swims along Dartmoor’s high rivers, to descending steep steps onto remote beaches along the North Devon and Cornish coast. From wooded mountain bike trails to open cliff top walks, this region has something exhilarating, mindful and fresh for everyday of the week.
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 Devon and Cornwall. To help you take advantage of an exciting and diverse range of mini-adventures that you can have through Devon and Cornwall, whilst providing an environment at Lee Byre in which you can unwind, stretch out and be yourself.
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!