Dan Barnes heads south for a weekend on the moor...

Explore. Eat. Sleep. Probably my three favourite activities. This trip sounded like a dream come true.

We arrived just as the sun was starting to go down. The sky was pink and the shadows were getting longer as we negotiated the winding track up to Lee Byre.

Situated near the village of Marystowe on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park, Lee Byre is a former dairy farm complex turned award-winning B&B run by Guy, Kathrin and Maya Barnes with help from Guy's parents and Jess, possibly the friendliest dog in the world.

The place has been painstakingly renovated over seven years by John Barnes almost single-handedly. Such a feat certainly adds to the overall family-run and homemade feel of the place.

We were welcomed by Kathrin who showed us inside.

Stepping into the breakfast/dining room you are immediately immersed in the ethos of the place. It's a pleasing combination of traditional farmhouse styles with modern Scandinavian lodge features.

There has been a real effort to make as much of the experience as unique as possible. All of the artwork has been created by Guy's mum Judy. Most notable was the dining room table - a massive slice of wood painted in bright colours with the grain and hiding an array of animals.

Our room - Dart, the biggest of the three - was everything you could want. The bed was huge and comfortable, the bathroom (complete with free-standing bath) was sleek and modern and even the tea/coffee and homemade peanut butter cookie facilities had that Lee Byre touch.

We'd expected to arrive later than we did and had decided to have dinner in a nearby pub.

Thankfully, Kathrin was on hand with some suggestions and even made sure a table was set aside for us.

We'd chosen to go to the Castle Inn in Lydford, a traditional English pub about five minutes' drive from Lee Byre. Low ceilings, roaring fires and high-backed benches - all boxes ticked. I had hake and Beth had a beef and Devonshire cheese pie which I had to try... for the review. Both were delicious and servings were generous. It would be hard to get up bright and early after all that.

It turns out, a ridiculously relaxing night's sleep means it is not hard to get up bright and early after all. The smell of breakfast would have done the trick anyway. We went through to the breakfast room, a variety of wild birds had the same idea on the veranda.

I opted for the cooked breakfast and Beth went for the banana and cinnamon porridge. There was also freshly baked bread, homemade granola, yoghurt and fruit salad. It was a lot to try in one sitting so we decided to leave some for tomorrow.

Today's itinerary was a two-hour guided walk through the moor with Guy followed by a 15-mile mountain bike circuit. Guy had prepared us a packed lunch for the day's adventures including sandwiches, a homemade scotch egg, cookies and a granola bar.

We set off, following Guy down a warren of country lanes, his fearless driving proving difficult to match. Luckily we didn't get lost.

Starting out onto the moor, we picked a course through the saturated ground, bent double against the wind. It didn't take long to reach the first tor. We sheltered just shy of the summit but didn't hang around as Guy explained the view from the next one was more dramatic.

As we made our way towards the second summit Guy stopped to point out the remains of a Bronze Age settlement. The walls of at least three roundhouses were still in remarkable condition although now the only residents were some sheep seeking shelter from the weather.

The summit of the second tor was reachable by a short scramble section. However, taking the conditions into account, Guy advised that it may not be the best idea. Rounding the outcrop we got an idea of why.

The view was breathtaking. The icy wind was also breathtaking in a more literal sense. We stood braced against it for as long as we could before descending a couple of metres to shelter. It felt strangely warm in comparison and the views were no less spectacular.

We walked back as Guy explained the history of the Plymouth Leat - masterminded by Sir Francis Drake - and the slightly more sinister Lych Way. This was a route over which the dead of historical communities living on the moor would be taken in order to be interred in holy ground.

Back at the car, we went over the map of the mountain bike route once more. We were overheard by the leader of a nearby Ten Tors group. He said we 'must be mad' to be doing this. We shrugged it off. It was just a bit of wind... right?

By the time we arrived in Princetown it was worse. The planed route was a 15-mile loop along fairly simple terrain, out onto the moor to Sheepstor before a forest section around Burrator Reservoir and back to Princetown along the old railway line. Easy.

The weather was fairly calm in the car park. We picked up Beth's bike, which Guy had sorted out beforehand, signed the usual disclaimers and set off in high spirits. There were a few people coming the other way. Had they turned back? Was this a sign of worse to come?

The view of the snow-blasted moor was as magical as it was bleak. It was also short-lived as seconds later we were being pummelled by a worsening blizzard. We soldiered on for about an hour, though we'd probably not made it as far as it seemed. Perhaps this wasn't the greatest idea. We cut the ride short. Turning back gave the other side of our faces a turn at getting frozen.

As we ate our packed lunches in the car with the heaters set to defrost we decided to check out Burrator Reservoir after all.. .but we'd take the car. Guy had said that the surrounding forest (a mix of pine plantation and ancient oak woodland) was beautiful. He wasn't wrong.

It was more sheltered here and if it wasn't for the water thundering over the dam we could have stepped straight into Middle Earth. Gnarled trees and giant moss-covered boulders littered the hillside. We took the tiny road through the forest around the reservoir, stopping every five minutes to explore another crag, cave or waterfall.

Arriving back at Lee Byre, Guy was quick to ensure we were alright. He seconded the decision to curtail the ride.

We took some time to warm up, making use of the fancy free-standing bath. I had not used one before and quickly discovered that to wash one's hair, the taller gentleman must first adopt a series of complex yoga poses. I didn't get stuck though.

Lee Byre dinner tonight. We were looking forward to this. They have their own chef - Nina - who cooks all of their amazing food.

To start we had freshly baked rolls with wild garlic pesto - the wild garlic coming from a field just up the road. Simple but delicious.

This was followed by lamb and mint pie with new potatoes and salsa verde, the main event. There was plenty of everything and it was all cooked perfectly. Extra special mention for the new potatoes - how can something that simple taste so amazing? Dessert was Eton mess and it didn't last long. Beth barely managed to snap a picture before the bowls were empty.

It continued to snow through the night and by morning the moors had been covered in a powdery blanket of white. We headed in for breakfast and were told that Kathrin had already been out with her drone and seen that the roads were clear. We'd have no trouble getting home. 'Just another service we provide here,' joked Judy.

Opposite breakfasts this time. I wanted to try everything but overestimated my ability somewhat. After we'd packed up Guy suggested a tour of the site. 'We've done this in reverse really', he said.

The original farmhouse is now occupied by their neighbours. Lee Byre is made up of the farm buildings, with one set aside as Judy's art studio. There are plans for a complete kitchen garden but the cold weather is doing its best to hamper progress. The additions don't end there as Guy is also planning to install self-catering lodges overlooking the river at the bottom of the field.

Getting the car out proved trickier than anticipated. This wasn't down to the snow - the chickens had escaped. Kathrin was rushing back and forth, throwing them out of the way as we inched backwards. We made it out and set off down the lane with Guy, Kathrin and Maya waving us off from the gate.

For more details visit leebyre.com.