Its population as of the 2001 census was 8,000,550; the most populous region. The highest point is Walbury Hill in Berkshire at 297m/974 ft. In common usage the area referred to by South East may vary.
The prominence of Beachy Head has made it a landmark for sailors in the English Channel. It is noted as such in the sea shantySpanish Ladies:
The first land we sighted was called the Dodman,
Next Rame Head off Plymouth, off Portsmouth the Wight;
We sailed by Beachy, by Fairlight and Dover,
And then we bore up for the South Foreland light.
It was also a danger to shipping. The famous Belle Tout Lighthouse built in 1831 is located near the edge of the cliff on the next headland west from Beachy Head. It was moved more than 17 m (50 ft) further inland on 10 January 1899 due to cliff erosion. The lighthouse was superseded by the newer Beachy Head Lighthouse, 43m in height, built in the sea below in 1902.