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The Fylde // is a coastal plain in western Lancashire, England. It is roughly a 13-mile (20-kilometre) square-shaped peninsula, bounded by Morecambe Bay to the north, the Ribble estuary to the south, the Irish Sea to the west, and the Bowland hills to the east. The eastern boundary is approximately the location of the M6 motorway.
It is a flat, alluvial plain; parts were once dug for peat, and it is the western part of an area formerly known as Amounderness. The River Wyre meanders across the Fylde from Garstang on the eastern edge, westwards towards Poulton and then northwards to the sea at Fleetwood. The area north and east of the tidal Wyre, known as Over Wyre, is the more rural side of the river. The Fylde is roughly trisected by the M55 motorway and A586 road.
The west coast is almost entirely urban, containing the towns of Fleetwood, Cleveleys, Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham; with Thornton, Carleton and Poulton-le-Fylde not far inland. This area forms the Blackpool Urban Area. The central southern part of the Fylde includes the smaller towns of Kirkham and Wesham. The rest of the Fylde is rural, containing villages that include Freckleton, Warton, Wrea Green, Great Eccleston, Hambleton, Knott End and Pilling.
The Borough of Fylde is a local government area covering the south of the Fylde plain. The rest is covered by the boroughs of Wyre and Blackpool to the north and west respectively. The local justice area covering all of the Fylde is called Fylde Coast. The FY postcode area is named after the Fylde and covers its western half, whilst the eastern half lies in the PR postcode area.
The area lies on Namurian and to a lesser extent Millstone Grit Group geographic substructure, part of an extended lithostratigraphy of northern England and parts of Wales. The Namurian is itself a subdivision of the Carboniferous period, during which a large forest covered most of Northern Europe; the remnants of this forest today include the Forest of Bowland. This geographic substructure results today in a coast-to-coast geographical area known as the Pennine basin, of which the Fylde within the Bowland basin forms its western edge. The outcome is an underlying substructure which has resulted in extraction of natural gas from the Elswick gas field, and further exploration in the past decade following the development of Hydraulic fracking in North America. A 2010 British Geological Survey/Department of Energy and Climate Change report(published in 2012), cited the Fylde area centred around Elswick as one of two in Northern England with significant potential for extraction of shale gas. Following exploration by Cuadrilla Resources from March 2011 testing for shale gas on the Fylde coast, in September 2011 the company reported that it had found 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas under the Fylde, which if recovered could provide 5,600 jobs in the UK.
- Gradstein, Felix M.; Ogg, James G.; Smith, Alan G., eds. (2004). A Geological Time Scale 2004 (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521786737.
- "How much shale gas do we have?". British Geological Survey. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- "UK Onshore Shale Gas". British Geological Survey/Department of Energy and Climate Change. 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- "Shale gas firm finds 'vast' gas resources in Lancashire". BBC News. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
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