For me the worst thing about traffic is that the noise is completely "forced" upon you, that there is almost no escape from them at all! It is just so at odds with nature, I can't stand it.
I know what you mean about the sound of traffic from a distance though...it does take on a different quality, a distant drone that's fascinating in it's own right! But as you say, it'd be nice to escape from it.
Interesting to see you're in Nottingham Guy, not too far from me! I tend to go up to Ploughman's Wood near Lambley, there's a great atmosphere there, apart from the farmer's planes during the summer (a right pain, but what can you do?)