A piece of Homo sapien upper jaw disovered in 1927 was recently dated to a short interglacial period around 44,200 and 41,500 years ago.
This would suggest Dartmoor was first exploited by humans in the Lower Palaeolithic although the evidence is weak.
The charcoal deposits in the soil of this period provide evidence that Dartmoor was deforested due to fire.
It cannot be proved that these fires were caused by these early farmers but it would seem most likely.
These early humans were not Homo sapiens but of the same genus Homo.
These hunter-gathers came and went with the successive ice ages during the Palaeolithic period. During successive inter-glacial periods humans returned. In Devon the earliest known site used by these people is at Kent's Cavern in Torquay.
The moorland landscape we see today is a direct consequence of this period.
Trees only remained in the lowland river valleys and peat bogs started to form probably as a direct consequence of this landscape manipulation by humans in the Mesolithic period.
The evidence of human activity on Dartmoor during the Mesolithic is from flint scatters around the moors, including finds on Runnage and Ringhill near Postbridge.
Mesolithic tools are very distinctive consisting of much smaller flint tools than found during the Palaeolithic.
The early Stone Age hunter-gather period, the Palaeolithic, encompasses around 99% of human history.
It gave way after the last ice age, around 12 thousand years ago, to a gradual move towards farming - the Mesolithic or middle stone age period.
The walks featured are all based on the use of public transport, see Guide to Public Transport.