I think most of us have missed the freedom to travel over the past 16 months.

Marc and I would have usually attended several dog shows, including those on the continent, during this time. Aside from seeing new faces (and completely different breeds of dog) I particularly enjoy visiting new places.

One of our favourite European destinations is Holland.

The people are so incredibly friendly and welcoming and there are countless historic towns and beautiful villages to explore. And, quite often on our travels through this delightful country, we have noticed White Storks and their scruffy nests high on chimneys or rooftops.

The stork is a truly stunning bird and one that, is still viewed by the Dutch, as a lucky symbol. So desirable are these birds that some people erect a cartwheel in the hope of providing a base for a lucky stork nest on their home.

Maybe this ‘lucky’ association is also responsible for the charming tale of ‘storks delivering babies’. This myth can also be found in Germany, Russia, Turkey, Morocco and Greece.

Given the restrictions on travel I thought I would miss out on seeing the magical storks this year, however I hadn’t reckoned with the Knepp Estate in West Sussex, just a short drive from our new home!

This incredible place is now home to several nesting pairs, and the pair we got closest to was nesting on the roof of an outbuilding near the entrance. From our vantage point we could hear the parents clapping their bills and watch as they feed their young.

A couple of others were nesting in the branches of some huge sprawling centuries old oak trees on the estate. Knepp, with its ambitious plans for rewilding, is an awe-inspiring place to visit, one that gives hope in our increasingly over crowded island.

As Professor Sir John Lawton wrote, “Knepp Estate is one of the most exciting wildlife projects in the UK, and indeed in Europe. If we can bring back nature at this scale and pace just 16 miles from Gatwick Airport we can do it anywhere. I’ve seen it. Its truly wonderful and it fills me with hope.”

The glorious White Stork, for centuries associated with rebirth and regeneration, must surely be Knepp’s lucky symbol!