Oddies Lane sow kilns MYD36619 (c) YDNPA, 2023
This kiln appears as a well-preserved, shallow, grassy hollow close to the bridge where the road crosses a small stream. The hollow – the bowl – is 2.5 metres wide and 1.9 metres long, about 50cm deep, with an entrance funnel facing south east. The kiln was built into a pre-existing embankment. It is a typical clamp or sow kiln and is quite unlike the stone-built draw kilns that can be seen across the Dales. Kilns of this type pre-date stone-built kilns, and could have been in use at any time from the late Medieval period to the 19th century.
Pieces of limestone were collected, probably from the ground surface rather than being quarried. Alternate layers of stone and fuel were laid in the kiln bowl and the fire was lit. The mass of fuel and stone was allowed to slowly burn through over a number of days but the rate of burn would have been controlled through the funnel, or stoking hole. When filled, the mass was probably covered with turves to keep out the weather. The limeburner had his way of knowing when the burning process was completed, and he would have then dismantled the whole mass to remove the burnt lime, or quicklime. The lime would have been contaminated with fuel residue so was not very pure, and the main reason for producing the lime must have been for spreading on pastureland to improve the quality of the grass.