Barefoot Billion

Born Free President, Will Travers joins leading performance poet, Philip Wells in undertaking an epic 1,000 mile, 2 million step journey, walking barefoot ‘in the footsteps of the bards’ through Cornwall, South West England and Wales. ‘Barefoot Billion’ is raising money for Born Free’s Global Friends Programme and two other charities. Will is walking alongside Philip for four days on his 68 mile stretch from Tintern Abbey to Gladestry. Here is his account of day one.


He started this morning at 4.30 am trying to make up for some time lost yesterday when a combination of an agonisingly-bruised heel and sheer exhaustion caused him to slip, temporarily, behind schedule.

My friend Philip Wells, The Fire Poet, is a man on a mission.

We joined him at 7.30 and then walked – Philip barefoot as he has been for the last 600 miles – from Tintern to Monmouth.

‘Only 10 miles’. It sounds easy enough but as I watch this extraordinary many gingerly place one agonising foot in front of the other, across surfaces that threaten to cut and slice, I know 10 miles must seem like a marathon.

We cross-crossed the River Wye, snaking our way through glorious countryside. At times I thought the only thing that keeps him going is his great affinity with nature. The beauty of our surroundings, the buzzards, swans, the lazy river, the chance encounters with other walkers, each intrepid in their own way, seemed to revive his spirits.

And then there is the poetry. Last night. Standing under the shadow of Tintern Abbey, the rafter less roof seemed to echo to Philip’s powerful oration, my mother, Virginia, his elegant foil.

Today, the walk ended at Monmouth Comprehensive School, immersed in their week-long Literary Festival. Philip seemed re-born, energized by the 400 children packed into the marquee, each of them, in turn, inspired, as I am, by this man who is truly putting his money where his mouth is, this man who truly believes that words can change the world, this man who is calling on us all the B The Step and is leading by example!

Follow the walk, support the walk, be with Philip every step of the way.

Blogging off


Follow Will and Philip on twitter for updates on their journey.

Please make a donation by visiting: or by texting ‘STEP’ to 70111 to donate £3.

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