As we neared the entrance to the gorge our minds were distressed beyond measure by the advertisements advocating visits to the rival caves.  Cox was clearly the man who had the key to stalactite secrets.  Gough was the man who kept in his cavern-treasury echoes of 80,000 years ago, and the skull and bones of a prehistoric troglodite.  To judge by photographs of the skull of the old cave-dweller, dentists were not needed in those days.  It was a great relief to turn from this touting for custom to the beautiful sheet of water, the sound of whose fall at the weir into the garden of the Cliff hostelry filled the air, but whose shining surface, here and there white with water-crowfoot, gave back so much of reflection of white cloud and garden beauty as to rebuke us by its generosity, its motto clearly being “To give is better than to get.” (pp. 66-67)

This sheet of water, with its garden ground, its poplar trees, and its cottages, each bowered in roses or gay with “bridal wreath,” is the picturesque feature of the entrance to the gorge, and when we see how badly treated it has been by the throwing into it of potsherds and broken china, we cannot but fear that in a few years’ time its beauty will be entirely lost to inhabitants and visitors by being enclosed with some huge protective wall, for the Bristol Water Company has lately obtained power over it by Act of Parliament by a purchase not only of the water-pool, but of the Cliff Hotel and its grounds close by; and though they agreed not to take water from this emergency source if less than three million gallons of water are passing down to the village, they probably have also obtained powers to protect by any means they choose their fountain head, with certain loss to the amenity of the approach to the gorge. (pp. 67-68)

High up above the cottages, on the left hand as we neared the gateway of the gorge, lay couchant the huge lion-rock.  The beauty of tree growth on the right hand, filled with the song of the willow warbler, the fresh green leafage in contrast with the grey cliff behind was delightful, and it was with real sense of relief we found ourselves away from all the busy life of the village, in the calm tranquillity of the great precipices high above us. (p. 68)

The jackdaws, it is true, clamoured from the clefts, but no other sound broke the silence, which seemed to grow as we passed upward, and we were soon opposite the debris heaps that mark the work of the steam stone-breaker, that as late as 1912 was doing its best, in the interests of road metal contracts, to destroy the beauty of the northern cliff at this point.  We could not help contrasting the peace and quiet of to-day with the clatter and clang of the quarry that distressed us when we last visited the gorge. (p. 68)….

We walked up the gorge, and felt its grandeur grow upon us.  Not since we visited the back side of the Monte dei Fiori at Varese, had we seen such limestone buttresses and pinnacles as we saw below the Winding Rock and the Castle Rocks at Cheddar.  The beauty of the bastion cliffs was enhanced by the fact that both Winding Rock and pinnacles are set in a curve which gives the most extraordinary play of light and shadow.  Tier upon tier the mighty bastions rise, clothed here with ivy, there plumed with the foliage of ash and seedling birch, and wherever turf could obtain a foothold it jewelled the great castle-keeps with inset of emerald.  Solemnly silent and stern at the base, their upper parapets were filled with the sound of daws; and the wings of ravens, as they sailed out poised in mid-air, sent down their tint dappling shadows. (pp. 70-71)

Quite the most remarkable point of view in the whole walk was when, suddenly turning a corner, the pinnacles, like miniature Aiguilles Dru, rose out of velvet-dark shadow into blazing sunlight.  By easy gradient and on a perfect roadway we walked still farther up the gorge, and now the sternness of the pass gave way to hanging woods on the one side, and grassy fellside pasture on the other, that went by easy slope to blue heaven, and was dotted here and there by hazel and thorn-tree growth.  We recognized at once the difference of altitude by the fact that thorn trees long out of flower in the valley were still blossoming here. (p. 71)

We had virtually reached the summit of the pass, when we noticed a gap in the wall that had once been a gateway, which gave access on the right hand, by a very steep path, to the heart of a pine wood, and feeling sure if we could pass through that wood and gain open country at the top we should obtain a magnificent panoramic view of the Cheddar valley and seaward plain, we clomb up through a wood that in the wind was full of the sound of the sea, and in twenty minutes reached the open country beyond. (p. 71)

Away to the south-west stood up the conical hill with its tower of Glastonbury Tor, the plain of corn and grass rolled into the blue-grey distance of the Quantock hills.  But for magnificent bursts of rain we should have seen the Bristol Channel.  The plateau inland on both sides of the gorge, dotted here and there with single farm buildings, showed that the plough in this time of war had been busy in unexpected places.  Back through the wood into the gorge, from cold wind into sunny quiet we came; so downward, the wonder of the cliffs growing all the way, we descended to the village, and as we passed the silent quarry we could not help being thankful that the National Trust had been enabled to prevent threatened destruction by the stone-getters, and that Lord Bath, who was the owner of the cliffs on the mountain side of the gorge, had consented to refuse permission for quarrying, and so was the protector of the noble gorge for all who should ever visit it.  (pp. 71-72)

(A Nation’s Heritage, pp. 65-73)