Prior to the development of modern fertilisers and crushed limestone, lime was in much demand to improve agricultural land. The lime was produced by burning (calcining) limestone in a kiln. There is very little workable limestone on the North York Moors, so lime was shipped across the moors from the Tabular Hills. Originally the lime was transported by panniermen using packhorses. Moorland coal was taken down to the kilns, in places such as Hutton-le-Hole and the processed lime was transported back to the northern moors. Once the railways arrived the pannier trade ceased.
Commondale was unique in having a local, albeit poor quality, source of limestone, there was also a ready supply of coal from the nearby Danby coal pits. The Cobble Hall or Moorside Limekilns were in use from 1800 to 1850.