The Duchy of Lancaster has ancient associations with the Lancashire Survey.
The Lancashire Survey consists of five agricultural estates located between Preston and Lancaster, covering a total area of 4,102 hectares.
Only one of the estates, that of Myerscough, has been owned by the Duchy continuously since the thirteenth century. The others, Wyreside, Whitewell, Salwick and Winmarleigh, were purchased or repurchased by the Duchy. Whitewell lies in the ancient Royal Hunting Forest of Bowland, which was an ancient Duchy possession.
There are 40 farms on the estates, most of which are livestock-based. The level land of the Fylde area favours arable enterprises.
Part of the ancient inheritance of the Duchy was ownership of all foreshores in the County Palatine. Extensive interests were sold during the nineteenth century, such as the Mersey Docks and Blackpool promenade. The Duchy remains the major owner of foreshore between the centre point of the River Mersey and Barrow-in-Furness. The area extends over 50,000 hectares. Historically, foreshores have not been a great provider of revenue. The coastlines, river beds and estuaries now have greater potential value in association with energy, conservation, transport and leisure uses.
Dating back to the Middle Ages, Lancaster Castle is one of the Survey’s most interesting properties. For many years it has been let to Lancashire County Council and the Prison Service. The castle is still in use for ceremonial occasions, and houses a working court and prison. Part of the castle is open to the public for most of the year.