Barefoot poet takes a walk on the wild side

'Barefoot Poet' Philp Wells SUS-140616-121942001
'Barefoot Poet' Philp Wells SUS-140616-121942001

Born Free founder and much-loved actress Virginia McKenna OBE is set to join intrepid ‘barefoot poet’ Philip Wells as he enters the third stage of his journey through Cornwall, South West England and Wales this month, having already covered an incredible 440 miles as part of the ‘Barefoot Billion’ pilgrimage.

Philip, who is widely acclaimed for his dramatic delivery of poetry, has been bravely walking barefoot to raise awareness and funds for children all over the world who are forced to walk barefoot every day due to poverty and deprivation. His journey will benefit three chosen charities: The Born Free Foundation, the Consortium for Street Children, and Ocean Stars Trust.

Philip said: “Despite the blisters and sores the support and enthusiasm I am receiving from the great British public is helping me every step of the way. People are sending in ‘foot selfies’ and generously donating as I walk. Despite struggling with my feet, I am determined to continue and raise awareness for the children who suffer every day of their lives. I hope my poetry brings colour to the journey and inspires people as well. ”

The third leg of the pilgrimage will start on the 23rd of June. Philip and the team will then be walking in support of the Born Free Foundation’s Global Friends Project, which works to educate children in some of the poorest areas of the world, to ensure they grow up with a greater respect for their natural environment.

To mark the Born Free Foundation’s involvement, Virginia McKenna will join Philip for a poetry recital at Tintern Abbey on the 24th of June. Admission is free and all are invited to this event which starts at 4.30pm.

Virginia’s son and President of the Foundation, Will Travers OBE will also show his support to the Barefoot Billion team by walking alongside Philip from 24-29 June. Their route during this time will see them visit Monmouth on 25th June, stopping at Monmouth Comprehensive School at 1.30pm to perform as part of their Literary Festival; Pandy on 26th June; Llanthony on 27th June; Hay-on-Wye on 28th June and Gladestry on 29th June, before Philip and the team continue all the way to their final destination, Machynlleth.

Following in the footsteps of Bards, Romans, Neolithic dreamers and according to the legend, Christ himself, Philip’s route incorporates some of the UK’s best known landmarks. He will also stop at a number of schools, places of worship and community spaces, enabling him to deliver thought-provoking poetry recitals for members of the public along the way.

Anyone wishing to show their support for this unique challenge can find out more about the route and scheduled recitals at: or make a donation online by visiting: or by texting ‘STEP’ to 70111 to donate £3.

You can also follow the Barefoot Billion team on Facebook and Twitter for live updates - #BetheSTEP.

Report and picture contributed by the Born Free Foundation.