If wide horizons and empty skies are your thing, then it would be hard to beat the walk from Kennet down to Kennetpans.

Taking the farm track, just off the main road in Kennet, the elevated position of the field during the first part of the walk, delivers a wonderful vista of the Ochils when looking back to the north. As ever when out in the countryside, my eyes were also drawn to the ground, which was rewarded with the sight of late-flowering yarrow.

Yarrow is a wildflower steeped in folklore, and the legendary Greek warrior Achilles was said to have used the plant to cure battle wounds. Yarrow has distinctive flat, white flowerheads that are clustered together.

A dazzle of orange shone-out by a rotten tree stump. It was a most striking bracket fungus known as hairy curtain crust. The vast array of wonderful names for different types of fungus are one of the joys of the English language, and hairy curtain crust is no exception. It is a reasonably common fungus, and its bright colours never cease to amaze me whenever I stumble upon it.

Glistening inkcap was another good find. These attractive little toadstools prosper on decaying trees, and it is so-called, because the cap sometimes features glistening flecks.

On the approach to Kennetpans, the drainage ditches on either side of the track were profuse with phragmites reeds. Come the spring and summer, I imagine this would be a great place to spot reed buntings and sedge warblers.

On my return journey, the steep, brooding scarp of the Ochils loomed once more in the distance. These hills are one of central Scotland’s most distinctive landmarks, and as I looked towards them, their allure was so strong that I succumbed to the personal pledge of embarking upon a day’s hike within their wonderful embrace one day soon.

· Keith Broomfield’s new book ‘If Rivers Could Sing’ – a wildlife year on the River Devon – is now on sale, and is available at The Sorting Office in Dollar and Inspirations in Tillicoultry, or at www.tippermuirbooks.co.uk