The geography and landscape of Bute is dictated by the Highland Boundary Fault line: to the north the island is hilly with extensive areas of forestry, whilst in the south the landscape is softer, the land highly cultivated and more intensively farmed.

Farming is a major industry on the island and Bute Estate has over 40 agricultural tenants, nearly half of which are now held under limited or short limited duration tenancies. 13 of the businesses are dairy farms which produce some 13 million litres of milk, which is then transported to the mainland. The remaining farms include a variety of enterprises ranging from largely arable holdings towards the south end of the island, to hill stock farms in the north. Farm size varies considerably, from smallholdings of just a few acres to farms with over 2200 acres.

Over 1,300 hectares of Bute Estate land is afforested with a wide range of woodland types, objectives, species and ages. Sitka spruce is the predominant species, providing the timber supply for the Bute Estate Sawmill and the biomass boiler system recently installed in the Mount Stuart Gardens. Broadleaf areas consist of native woodland and exotic plantings, including those found in the Policies. The Bute Estate Forest Plan provides the long term vision and management of Bute Estate woodlands.

In addition to the large residential portfolio, the Estate is also Landlord to a variety of non agricultural properties, including golf courses, village halls and commercial use buildings.