A COMPUTER science student walked hundreds of miles in sweltering conditions to help raise cash to plant nearly 5,000 trees.

Joshua Meads was determined to do his bit to tackle climate change.

So during the summer holidays the Essex University student, walked the ancient pilgrimage route Via Francigena, which runs from France to Rome, raising more than £4,800 for charity.

The trek, which saw him endure some of Europe’s hottest days on record, as well as blisters and hours of walking alone, took three months and raised much-needed funds for US-based charity One Tree Planted.

Joshua walked an average of 25km a day for 88 days and covered a total of 2,200km.

But despite the mammoth trek he didn’t make many special preparations before setting off.

He said: “I took a quick look at the route and estimated where I would be when but I find it easier to just go and do it, and make any necessary adjustments on the fly."

Joshua made the most of hospitable locals who offered food but mostly camped out along the route and fended for himself.

“Mostly I just put one foot in front of the other, 2.8 million times, and got on with it,” he said.

With so many miles to cover there were plenty of highlights for Joshua.

He said: "“I met some really lovely local people who took me in and cooked for me.

"Without a doubt, crossing the Alps [was one].

"The scenery was breath-taking and the St Bernard Pass was a stunning walk.”

But the biggest highlight was reaching Rome after three months on foot.

He said: “Walking through the outskirts of Rome you come round a corner in a park and suddenly there is this view of the Vatican a few kilometres away.

"It was an amazing moment, to see St Peter’s and know I was nearly there.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joshmeads.

Help Joshua reach his £5,000 target.