Analysis of data from the National Soil Inventory of England and Wales obtained between 1978 and 2003 shows widespread increases in soil pH – i.e., soils became less acid – across both countries during the survey period. In general, soil pH increased under all land uses. At least part of the increase and its regional variation could be explained by decreased sulphur deposition from the atmosphere. Changes in liming practices on arable land probably also contributed. The effect of decreased sulphur deposition was moderated by land use, soil properties – particularly soil pH and organic carbon content – and the level of past sulphur deposition.