We analyse silence and tranquillity in historical and contemporary corpora to understand ways landscapes were—and are—perceived in the Lake District National Park in England. Through macro and microreading we develop a taxonomy of aural experiences, and explore how changes to categories of silence from our taxonomy—for instance, the overall decline in mentions of absolute silence—provide clues to changes in the landscape and soundscape of the Lake District. Modern authors often contrast silence with anthropogenic sounds, while historical authors adhere to a cultural construction where the Lake District is presented as a tranquil area by ignoring industrial sounds. Using sentiment analysis we show that silence and tranquil sounds in our corpora are, as a whole, more positively associated than random text from the corpora, with this difference being especially marked in contemporary descriptions. Focusing closely on individual texts allows us to illustrate how this increased positivity can be related to the emergence of silence and tranquillity as valuable components of landscape. Mapping our corpora confirmed the influence of Wordsworth’s writing on descriptions of silence; and revealed the co-location of pockets of tranquillity near to transport arteries in contemporary descriptions.