Robert Louis Stevenson was 28 when, in 1878, he set off on a 120-mile, ten-day walk down France, from Le Monastier heading south through the Cévennes to St Jean Du Gard. His belongings were carried on a small donkey, enabling him to name the book of his experiences Travels With a Donkey in the Cévennes. It was his first successful book.

Baildon walker and prolific writer Alan Plowright had that story read to him by a teacher when he was at school and was inspired by it.

"That intriguing account of Stevenson's journey must have nurtured a desire to travel on foot, for in later life, when my children had grown up, I began to walk the hills and dales of Yorkshire as a prelude to many long-distance treks around Britain," he says.

Re-reading Stevenson's account of his travels recently, he once again became filled with a desire to follow in his footsteps. And so he did, minus donkey, determined to visit the places Stevenson had travelled to and see how life had changed in the area of France in more than a century and a quarter.

He discovered what many people who visit rural France find - that (in his words) much of it "remains virtually untouched by time, the only concession to modernity being the occasional village store".

The first part of the book is devoted to Alan Plowright's account of Stevenson's travels. Then the author's own experiences take over. It's an amiable sort of read, full of information, observation and encounters.

Like Mr Plowright's other books, it's a solid publication, printed on good-quality paper and with ample colour and black-and-white illustrations.

  • In the Footsteps of Stevenson, by Alan Plowright, is published by Moorfield Press at £10.99 (ISBN 9780953011995).