Discovery Tours of Exmoor
Tours of Exmoor National Park in a Morris 12/4 3 Series 1939
See Exmoor’s beautiful wildlife and spectacular scenery.
Learn about Historical, Geological, Geographical, Archeological sides of Exmoor.
Visit places not normally seen and go to parts not normally visited.
Book your tour today
So how did we get to the present day?
For 15 years, Richard ran Discovery Safaris of Exmoor which was an off-road tour across the Exmoor National Park.
Interesting, informative and exciting, Discovery Safaris rolled across Exmoor but unfortunately the pandemic changed the operational procedure that Richard and his Land Rover had enjoyed for so long.
The method of tourist activities changed and how people went about participating .
People didn’t want to sit closely together with the windows closed experiencing off-road, adventures through valleys, riverbeds and so forth, and so in a seven seater Land Rover defender, it was becoming difficult to remain cost-effective.
So Richard decided to reinvent the business.
First and foremost the need was to sell his specially adapted and designed Land Rover Defender, 110 long wheelbase, safari vehicle that provided over 2,000 people, in 15 years, the chance to see Exmoor in only the way that Richard could show them.
The Land Rover was a vehicle that was a one-off design and so a decision was made to to put the vehicle on the market. Due to its nature, the vehicle was sold quickly, and so Richard now had the funds to change the path and so to reinvent, and buy a replacement vehicle that he could still offer people a tour across Exmoor, informing them about the history and characteristics of the National Park.
Richard decided to go to the other extreme, and completely change the whole course of the activity, and so keeping the desire to inform people of Exmoor he wanted to purchase a classic car with some style, uniqueness and most of all some history.
After a lot of searching Harold was found.
Richard ensured that Harold was back on the road and up to present day standards, so that people can be driven over Exmoor fully insured and in a fully licensed 1939 car.
For this to happen, Harold had to go back to his birthplace a garage workshop that had the ability to get what needed to be done so he could meet the standards that are required by present day District Council. This meant rebuilding the brake system and engine work, but most of all be given a MOT something that he had not had for many years.
Apart from being given the facelift Harold had to have seatbelts front and rear to meet the conditions of policy for a private hire vehicle. Richard wanted these to be age related the earliest seatbelts that he could find were dated 1955
However, then came a communication from Mr Ian Delorme who had a classic car museum in Cape Town South Africa.
He had heard of the plight that Richard was undertaking and through the classic car paternity contacted Richard one day out of the blue from his museum thousands of miles away and decided to give, yes, give Richard a set of four seat belts which were dated 1941 and were on show in his museum!
These seatbelts were given to the mechanics at Beavers garage in Minehead, who slightly modified them, and so they were fitted to Harold to meet the constraints that were laid down.
What with the engine brakes and body and the exceptionally more advanced council test which is so much more detailed than an MOT that all private hire vehicles need to undertake, Harold passed the test and now was ready to go up against the traffic of the present day as a private hire vehicle.
There was only one stage left, and that was to convince the District Council Licensing Committee that Harold was ready to run the roads again. Not driven for flight officers by a civil servant/RAF driver, but for the public by Richard, who was a Regimental Sergeant Major when in the army, who will tell people about the Exmoor National Park.
Was the huge gamble worth it? All the work and effort to get Harold to the standard required?
Richard had to get Harold to this point before the last and final stage all the time having to consider that Harold might not get approval from the the District Council.
So a date was set, and so to Harolds next chapter. Richard was given his date and time to speak to the Licensing Committee.
The main concern was the age of the vehicle and would it be up to coping with a present day venture like the one that he was planning to undertake.
Up against the Licensing Committee with everything in place Richard was sure that Harold would be up to the present day vehicle standards. With special insurance in place, and the Licensing Authorities own requirements passed, Richard was confident that the presentation to the Licensing Committee would be satisfactory for them to make the right decision.
On completion of the presentation the District Council Licensing Committee agreed that Harold was fit for purpose, and the private hire license that Richard had with Discovery Safaris could be transferred to the new venture and for him to drive his Morris 12/4 Series III that was first registered in April 1939, across Exmoor and beyond!
Here he is at the start of the next chapter – The website explains and gives you a vast amount of information for you to decide whether you would like to visit the Exmoor National Park, transporting you for your special occasion, or maybe use as a wedding car, Harold is ready for Private Hire.
So there it is with a lot of effort and determination Discovery Safaris of Exmoor may not be any more, but this new venture is.
Harold waits to say hello!