SIR Andrew Motion, the former Poet Laureate and president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, will speak in Winchester tonight about his love for the countryside and the importance of preserving rural landscapes.

The talk, entitled Childhood, Poetry and Caring for the Countryside, will be at the Holiday Inn, Morn Hill.

He said: “It is absolutely vital we engage a new generation. This is partly so that we can look ahead and feel the defence of the countryside is in good hands, and partly so we can encourage as many people as possible to enjoy and understand our beautiful landscapes.”

Sir Andrew has a deep fondness for the English countryside, instilled by a rural upbringing. He will also be reading some of his poetry.

Before the main talk he was due to give a reading with pupils from Kings', The Westgate and Twyford schools.

He succeeded writer Bill Bryson as CPRE president in 2012 and was Poet Laureate from 1999-2009.

The evening will begin with a reception at 6.45pm and the talk begins at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £20 per person, including a glass of wine and snacks.