The global pandemic has brought rural areas centre stage. For many, they have offered a haven of security and safety from more densely populated urban environments. But the rural is about more than the physical environment. It is over 30 years since Hoggart suggested that we ‘do away with the rural’. He was concerned with how the social construction of the rural impeded our understanding of social processes that are experienced in both rural and urban contexts. This chapter examines rurality across the UK by considering how definitions delineate places according to specific features, often population. It considers how particular narratives of the rural, such as that of the rural idyll, advance the interests of some. The chapter then moves on to illustrate how land-use varies across the UK. Through these different perspectives the chapter shows how rural is not causal, it is a space with competing demands from a range of stakeholders. It is also a place where global trends are felt; just as they are in urban settings. The chapter argues that if rural sustainability is to be taken seriously, attention must be focused on the interconnections between social, environmental and economic issues.