Thematic maps

Lancashire Profile > Location and infrastructure thematic maps

Location and infrastructure thematic maps

The following section includes thematic maps relating to a variety of spatial topics in Lancashire, together with links to articles on the County Profile or service specific areas of the Lancashire county council website. See the Contents Pane to the right of this screen to navigate to brief overview of topics. A download button is  also provided to enable a full version of each map to open in a seperate window

Within the broader 14-authority Lancashire area, there are 12 district councils within the Lancashire County Council administrative area, and two unitary authorities of Blackburn with Darwen, and Blackpool Councils.

Details of settlements throughout Lancashire may be downloaded below, these are listed alphabetically by local district council.

See also the Environment and conservation thematic maps which cover additional themes such as location of designated green belts.

Local authorities in Lancashire

Local Authorities in Lancashire 

Within the broader 14-authority Lancashire area, there are 12 district councils within the Lancashire County Council administrative area, and two unitary authorities of Blackburn with Darwen, and Blackpool.

Click here to read more about the different tiers of local authority and their functions.


Additional spatial information is available on MARIO; Maps & Related Information Online

Spatial Context GB

Spatial Context: GB Overview

The Lancashire sub-region is located in the North West of England. The present-day administrative County is smaller than the historic Shire County of Lancashire, as a result of the re-organisation of local authorities in the 1970s and the late 1990s. Administrative areas within the Lancashire sub-region include the 12 district Lancashire County Council area and the two unitary authorities of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, and Blackpool Council.

Further information on Administrative Geography may be found at the following: link to Local authority Websites ONS Guide to English Administrative boundaries
Counties, Non-metropolitan Districts and Unitary Authorities Statutory functions of different tiers of local authorities
Spatial Context: English Regions

Spatial Context: English Regions 

England is grouped into nine Regions for the purpose of data collection and comparative analysis. In 2011 the North West Region remained the third largest English region after the South East and London in terms of population.
Despite this, the region has a diversity of urban scenes and rural landscapes, varying from the busy city regions of Manchester and Merseyside to more remote upland areas of Cumbria and the South Lakes.

Details of regional population:


Spatial Context: NW Region

Spatial Context: NW Region 

Lancashire is located at the centre of the North West region and exhibits some of the variety of urban/rural scenery and relative prosperity/deprivation which characterise the region.
The size of the Lancashire sub-region approximates to 307,580 hectares based on Mean High Water Line, or 366,364 hectares at Mean Low Tide when inter-tidal areas are taken into account.
The 14 district Lancashire sub-region is home to just over one fifth of the estimated mid-year population of the NW region. The bulk of the population live within urban areas taking up just 11.1% of the total land mass of Lancashire.      
Spatial Portrait of Lancashire

Spatial Portrait of Lancashire

Lancashire has a diverse landscape ranging from busy populated urban and suburban areas to scenery which is more open in nature or with farming/agricultural landuses.
Lancashire coastal areas have their own distinctive character. In addition to supporting residential populations, they are important places for recreation and contribute to the visitor economy. There are also significant inter-tidal areas based on the Ribble Estuary and Morecambe Bay which are important grounds for migratory species.

Transport links with the rest of the North West and other regions of England and Wales are good. On the north/south corridor the M6 and M61 provide access to the national motorway network, and the West Coast rail line puts Lancashire within 2.5 hours of London and other major cities.
towns and settlements location map

Towns and Settlements Location Map

This map shows the main towns and settlements in each local district authority. There are around 350 settlements in the wider 14-authority area of Lancashire. Just 2 of these settlements are classed as cities  - Lancaster and Preston.

See also the thematic map of postcode sectors and boundaries for locations of smaller settlements.


LSOA rural definition map

Urban and Rural Areas of Lancashire - LSOAs


The Rural/Urban definition was introduced in 2004, and defined the rurality of small 2001 Census based geographies. Following the release of the 2011 Census, which saw relatively minor modifications to LSOAs, the small areas were reclassified. The map included here (in PDF format in the download sidebar) is now for the 2011 classification. An analysis of the changes in Lancashire, which were most profound at the smallest Census Output Area levels, and comparisons between the periods can be found here. Other useful links are as follows:
The Statistical Digest of Rural England February 2013 contains updated sections on Housing and Health (DEFRA) for the rural areas based on 2010 data.


Super Output Areas (SOAs) are a unit designed for the collection and publication of small area statistics. Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) are composed of groupings of SOAs and form the lowest unit at which some datasets are published. On average an LSOA contains 1,500 residents and is composed of relatively homogenous areas in terms of housing type and tenure. 


MSOA rural definition 2011 map

Urban and Rural Areas of Lancashire - MSOAs 

The Rural/Urban definition was introduced in 2004, and defined the rurality of small 2001 Census based geographies. A new definition based on the 2011 Census, taking into account the very few alterations to MSOA boundaries, was released in 2013. The map offered here (in PDF format in the download sidebar) is based on this revision.
Further details on Rural/Urban classifications
District level maps and small area data (2004) 
Super Output Areas (SOAs) are a unit designed for the collection and publication of small area statistics. Middle Super Output Areas (MSOAs) were defined following consultation with local authorities and are based on groupings of Lower Super Output areas (LSOAs) and adjusted to fit local information requirements. They were revised after 2011 where some no longer conformed to the thresholds for population and households. There are now 7,201 MSOAs in England and Wales and on average each includes a population of 7,500 residents.
key employment sites

Employment Sites



This map shows a number of employment sites identified through regional strategies and local development plans as key to the delivery of investment and regeneration across the Lancashire area.  The Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership promotes these and other developments and is eligible to bid for and allocate funds from national government schemes such as the Regional Growth Fund and Growing Places Fund.
 Lancashire LEP successfully supported the bid for establishment of an Enterprise Zone following the approval of land alongside the Bae Systems sites at Samlesbury and Warton.
Individual district councils maintain registers of available employment land and other sites
suitable for industry within their areas. 

Assisted Areas 2014 to 2020

Assisted areas Lancashireassisted areas UK

The Assisted Areas for 2014 to 2020 were finalised in May 2014. The process of allocating those areas for the targeting of regional aid towards the industrial heartlands and urban regeneration involved the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in a period of consultation with local authorities and enterprise partmerships. The areas in the 'a' category and the sparsely populated 'c' category, which receive higher rates of subsidy, were predefined, and the remainder which are to be assisted up to a maximum coverage by just over 27% of the population, as set by the European Commission, were selected by the Department. Lancashire has 79 wards in the standard 'c' category, receiving subsidies of 10% for large enterprises, 20% for medium enterprises and 30% for small enterprises. The rates for the sparsely populated 'c' areas (shown in blue on the national map) are 15%, 25% and 35% and for the 'a' areas are 25%, 35% and 45% respectively.

The reports and lists of assisted areas are available from

Railway Stations

Railway Stations 

The Office of Rail Regulation produces National Rail Trends, a statistical report on rail usage. The rail network is a significant element of UK transport infrastructure, essential both to economic development and environmental improvement (carbon reduction) measures.  A summary of station usage in Lancashire is available on the Lancashire Profile
There are just over 60 passenger stations in Lancashire ranging from busy commuter stations to smaller and including a few unmanned stations in rural areas.
The busiest stations are Preston and Lancaster on the West Coast Main Line; high usage is also recorded at principal stations along the busy East/West commuter routes. Several stations have re-opened to passenger transport including Buckshaw Village station. Rawtenstall no longer has regular services but serves the East Lancashire Railway Heritage Line
postcode areas

Postcode areas and sector boundaries

Post code areas and sector boundaries are not contiguous with Lancashire local authority boundaries: Liverpool postcodes cover over half of West Lancashire district ; parts of Chorley, Blackburn with Darwen, and Rossendale have Wigan, Bolton or Oldham postcodes. A few areas in Pennine Lancashire are zoned with Bradford and the eastern boundary of the county slightly overlaps the Halifax area but only very small unpopulated upland areas are affected.   

More information on purchase uk postcodes and purchase of licenses is available from


TTWA 2011 map

Travel To Work Areas, 2011

ONS in partnership with Newcastle University have published in 2015 a revised set of travel to work areas (TTWAs) based on the travel to work commuter flows identified in the 2011 Census of Population. The areas are discrete units within which 75% of the working population go to work in the same unit. The data are provided as a look-up table for lower super output areas and the full details are published here

Please note that TTWAs are an amalgam of different travel patterns. These include unskilled, low income, workers only prepared to travel short distances in order to keep commuting costs to a minimum. They also include other workers such as professionals who are willing to work much further afield. They can absorb the additional travelling costs that allow them to access higher value work opportunities. The myriad of different commuting flows have led  to TTWA boundaries in Lancashire that appear to reflect broad commuting patterns. The 2011 census commuter flow article for example highlights the strong commuter flows in West Lancashire that lead to much of the district being allocated to the Liverpool, and Wigan and Warrington TTWAs. The allocation of most of Rossendale district to Blackburn TTWA however appears to be more problematic. Many of the residents in the authority look for work opportunities in greater Manchester. The commuter flow article shows the area's very strong commuter links with Rochdale, Bury and Manchester.