"Research regarding the positive role of natural environments in supporting good health has primarily focussed on urban greenspace, woodlands, or undifferentiated 'nature'. Little attention has been paid to increasing our understanding of the potentially different impacts on health and wellbeing of different environments - either in terms of environment type or quality. As part of the Blue Gym programme of research around aquatic environments ("bluespace"), health and wellbeing, we carried out a study to investigate relationships between proximity to the coast and self-reported health. The coast has long been used as an environment for convalescence, holidays and physical activity, and in this study we set out to investigate whether simply living near to the coast could be associated with better population health and wellbeing.Applying methods similar to those used in some previous greenspace and health research, we used 2001 census data and carried out a small-area cross sectional study. The 2001 census asked every person to rate their general health status in the previous 12 months as 'Good', 'Fairly Good' or 'Not Good'. We calculated the proportion of the population rating their health as 'Good' for Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) across England. There are 32,482 LSOAs in England, and these areas are used to produce small area statistics on a wide variety of issues including health and socio-economic status. These census data have frequently been used to study the distribution and determinants of poor self-rated health. However, we considered good health as the outcome, reflecting our interest in salutogenic (health promoting) environments. Responses to this type of simple single item question have been shown to be strongly related to more sophisticated measures of physical and mental health such as SF-36.We used a Geographic Information System to calculate each LSOA's proximity to the coast. We then used multivariate regression models to investigate associations between good health prevalence and coastal proximity. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders including greenspace, inland waters, age, sex and socio-economic deprivation, and were stratified by urban-rural status. Proximity to the coast was found to be positively associated with good health, with effects strongest in urban areas. There were also indications of interactions between coastal proximity and area deprivation, with consequent implications for health inequalities."