Rural management

Preserving ecosystems whilst providing a safe place to train

The primary purpose of the Defence Training Estate is to ensure the armed forces have a quality training experience that resembles as many real-life worldwide environments as possible. For this reason, effective rural estate management for a wide variety of landscapes and terrains is not only essential for the preservation of UK ecosystems, but also for effective military training – placing huge impact on where species can thrive.

Our teams are dedicated to rural land management across the Estate, ensuring the landscape is there for people to live, work, train and enjoy for years to come. The Estate is used by a variety of people – from the general public and agricultural tenants to armed forces personnel. It’s our job to ensure the estate is there for all its user’s needs, while being respected in return.

Through constantly redeveloping our rural land management practices, such as infrastructure and natural environment processes, developing natural capital and climate resilience initiatives across the Estate, and ensuring our Training Estate Public Safety teams are always out and about on site, we ensure a safe, protected, and sustainable Estate where species can thrive alongside its users.


Protecting the environment and range of habitats on the Defence Training Estate is of primary importance to us. This includes the Estate’s 169 SSSI/ASSIs, 70,000 hectares of nature conservation sites, 20,000 hectares of woodlands and 1,600 of wetlands, all covering around one per cent of the UK landmass.


Over two thirds of the 190,000 hectares of land owned by the MOD are for the primary purpose of military training, but are also well used by the farming community, and the public. As part of our land management, it’s our job to ensure the Estate caters to each of these users, as well as the diverse range of species that call the Estate home.


Our teams undertake all aspects of woodland and tree management, from establishing new land right through to sustainable harvesting and restocking. Our forestry service and operations improve the health and quality of the MOD’s timber resources, which then becomes a vital source for income generation and reinvestment.


Public access to the Defence Training Estate – home to beautiful scenery, diverse environments and unique flora and fauna – is encouraged but only when it is safe to do so. As the primary purpose of the Estate is to carry out Armed Forces combat training, users must be aware of the possible risks concerned when using this land.