Cobbles occur in various sizes and colours. Cobble structures are normally found near to the coast or in towns near rivers, because cobbles are smoothed and rounded by the action of water. In the 18th and 19th Centuries cobbles were often used as ballast for grain and wool barges. The ballast would be offloaded to make room for the new cargo, depositing readymade building materials on the quayside. Depending on availability, cobbles may be laid either randomly or in courses.
Many Sussex coastal villages have walls laid in gauged coursed cobble work, either with a raised weather-struck line finish between courses or a recessed finish. Because they vary little in shape, working with coursed cobbles can be more technically demanding for the flint mason than some other styles. Burnt and crushed cobbles have also been used heavily in the ceramic industry for use in slips and glazes. A practice that continues today in the Far East. Though none are currently in use, there a still a few cobble/flint grinding mills in existence in this country.