NAS Merryfield, Ilton, Somerset.

Saturday 17th March 2012

Preliminary Information

This page will be updated during the next few weeks as more details become available.

The 52nd Boys and 44th Girls Aviva ESAA English Schools' Cross Country Championship is to take place at NAS Merryfield, Ilton, Somerset. on Saturday 17th March 2012.

NAS Merryfield is an active MOD airfield located on the edge of the village of Ilton, which is situated between Ilminster and Taunton, off the A358.

Ilton is about 9 miles from junction 25 on the M5 and about 2 miles from the Southfields Roundabout on the A303.

NAS Merryfield is a fully working airbase with permanent security and as such, access to the base and Championship course can only be made on the day of the Championship.

Please read ALL the following information carefully, there will be restrictions on vehicle access, restrictions on movements on site, and note particularly that the entire site is a NON-SMOKING environment.

MOD Conditions of use
As RNAS Merryfield is MOD property, they have imposed on the ESAA and Somerset Schools AA certain conditions for its use. We would ask all attending the Championships to follow and obey the following conditions.

  1. RNAS Merryfield is an ex-WW2 air base. Although it is believed that the site is free of any legacy ordnance, anybody finding any unusual or unidentifiable object must not touch the object but report it to the Security Guard. The area must be cleared.

  2. There are many ponds around the airfield, some of which are hidden by undergrowth. All users of RNAS Merryfield must ensure that extreme care is taken when moving away from established paths and trails. All children must be supervised, especially in the vicinity of the ponds.

  3. RNAS Merryfield is a strictly litter free zone. This is essential for the safe flying of the aircraft. Ample waste bins will be on site. Please use them.

    Leave no litter

  4. No dog is to be brought onto or allowed to remain on the premises unless secured and handled on a leash at all times.

  5. Competitors and other persons attending must not trespass outside the areas being used by the Championships.

  6. All vehicles, with the exception of emergency vehicles must remain on the paved surfaces and must not be driven onto the grass areas.

  7. Trees, shrubs and wild flowers must not be damaged in any way.

  8. Smoking is prohibited on the airfield.

  9. Failure to follow these conditions will lead to the air base Security removing the offender.

Google Earth: search for ilton,somerset - the airbase is just to the north of Ilton.

Click the map to find Ilton

Travelling to Ilton

Sat-Nav users: the destination postcode is TA19 9HN, but you must ignore the directions shown on your satnav. Because of high volumes of traffic, and narrow roads, you MUST follow the directions given here instead. Ilton is about 9 miles from junction 25 on the M5 and about 2 miles from the Southfields Roundabout on the A303.

All Championship traffic must drive south along the A358 to enter Ilton by a left turn. Police will not allow traffic to turn right here.

Traffic coming from the North or the South, turn off the M5 at junction 25 and follow the A358 Southwards towards Ilminster, then turn left towards Ilton. Drive straight through the village of Ilton. The entrance to NAS Merryfield is in front of you. This is the only entrance to the airbase.

All Championship traffic travelling along the A303 must divert along the A372 and then along the A378 to join the A358 north of Ilton. Once on the A358 travel southwards until the turnoff.

All vehicles will drive forward on to the base, then take a left turn onto the perimeter road. Here the perimeter road will be divided:

  1. Team Coaches and Officials must use the LEFT HAND lane and drive though the toll booth. Then continue to bear LEFT onto the large concreted area. This is approx 50 metres from the area set aside for County Teams.

  2. Cars containing parents, spectators etc. will use the right hand lanes, drive to the toll booth, pay the £5.00 parking charge and each car will receive a complimentary Championship programme. Owing to the road configuration there cannot be a dropping off point. Parking is on the main runway – which is 50m wide.

Exiting Ilton

All Championship traffic must exit Ilton to the A358 by the reverse route and upon reaching the A358 must turn LEFT onto the A358 and drive south, about 2 miles, towards the Southfield roundabout. Traffic for the M5 can then circle the Southfields roundabout, then travel northward along the A358 to the M5.


Public parking is on the runway a short distance from the course, you will be directed by marshalls. There will be a charge of £5.00 per car which includes a programme.

County Coaches will be parked less than 50m from the start/finish areas.


9.00 am - Championship site open for access.
The airbase is an active MOD restricted site and there is no access to it except on the day of the Championships.
9.30 am - Course open for inspection.
10.00 am - Declarations open
11.30 am - Officials meeting
12.00 am - Declarations Close and Championship Course should be cleared
12.30 pm - Intermediate Girls Championship
Followed by the Individual Presentation
1.00 pm - Junior Boys Championship
Followed by the Individual Presentation
1.30 pm - Junior Girls Championship
Followed by the Individual Presentation
2.00 pm - Intermediate Boys Championship
Followed by the Individual Presentation
2.35 pm - Senior Girls Championship
Followed by the Individual Presentation
3.05 pm - Senior Boys Championship
Followed by the Individual Presentation


Individual presentations will be made, as each race is completed, at a point near to the finishing area. Please ensure that your Team Stewards as well as competitors know of this arrangement. This does mean that the individual competitor(s) concerned will be presented with their award BEFORE reporting to their County Steward stationed in the finishing marquee.

A more detailed site map showing locations of various marquees will appear here in the next week or so.

Competitor Lists
Lists of all County Teams are published here. The closing date for team entries was noon on Thursday 1st March.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure that names are spelled correctly, mistakes do sometimes occur. Competitors are asked to check these lists so that their name appears correctly in the programme, on the tee-shirts, and in the results. Everything to do with the event is prepared automatically from these lists so if your name is wrong here, it will be wrong everywhere!

Please ask your friends/colleagues/pupils to check the spellings of their names. The deadline to notify us of any errors will be noon on Sunday 4th March, after which time files will be prepared to be sent to the programme and teeshirt printers. Any errors notified after that time will appear correctly in the results, but won't be in time to be included in the programme or on teeshirts.

Please don't keep re-sending emails requesting spelling changes, one email is quite sufficient. Because of the high volume of mail we receive at this time of year we don't have time to reply to them all. Spelling changes notified to us before Sunday 4th March will be updated in the listings shown here on Sunday evening but these lists won't be updated after then. However, all subsequent changes will be carried into our files for results production.

Counties can enter up to 12 athletes in each age group, and 8 are allowed to run in the event. Names published here are not necessarily in selection preference order and your name appearing in these lists DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL GET TO RUN IN THE CHAMPIONSHIPS.

County team managers will make their final team selections in due course and the lucky athletes will be informed either by post or by telephone - you would have been told what your local arrangements are when you filled in your availability forms at the County Championships.

If you find any spelling errors, please notify us immediately giving your County, Age Group, and the correct spelling.

avon    bedfordshire    berkshire    buckinghamshire    cambridgeshire    cheshire    cleveland    cornwall    cumbria    derbyshire    devon    dorset    durham    essex    gloucestershire    greater manchester    hampshire    herefordshire & worcestershire    hertfordshire    humberside    kent    lancashire    leicestershire & rutland    lincolnshire    london    merseyside    middlesex    norfolk    northamptonshire    northumberland    north yorkshire    nottinghamshire    oxfordshire    shropshire    somerset    south yorkshire    staffordshire    suffolk    surrey    sussex    warwickshire    west midlands    west yorkshire    wiltshire    channel islands why is it so hard to get the spellings right then? Many might just be typing errors, but for interest, in 2009 there were 824 different firstnames, and 2277 different surnames, many of which can be spelled in different ways (even spelled can be spelt in two ways!). Frequently, athletes' names can be passed on to team managers via two or three people, often by phone.

The nature of County teams means that the team managers aren't in daily contact with athletes and quite often they've never come across them before. In such cases it is all too easy to hear a name by phone and spell it as one thinks it should be - sometimes schools don't have the correct spellings in their own files. Some names just have too many spellings - even William Shakespeare couldn't spell his own name consistently from day to day!

Look at some the variations just of firstnames we've seen in recent years - all of these have been verified to be real:

  • Beccy, Becki, Becky, Becy, Beki
  • Darryl, Daryl, Darill
  • Eliot, Eliott, Elliot, Elliott
  • Freddie, Freddy
  • Georgie, Georgy, Georgi
  • Hannah, Hanna
  • Jonathan, Jonathon, Johnathan, Johnathon, Jonothan
  • Kayley, Kayleigh
  • Martin, Martyn, Martainn
  • Mathew, Matthew, Mattheus
  • Michael, Micheal
  • Philip, Phillip, Phillipe
  • Rachel, Rachael, Racheal
  • Rebeca, Rebecca, Rebeka, Rebekah
  • Robin, Robyn
  • Sammy, Sammie
  • Sara, Sarah
  • Stacey, Stacie
  • Stef, Steph
  • Stewart, Stuart
  • Teresa, Teressa, Theresa
  • Thomas, Tomas, Tomaz, Thomass
  • Vicki, Vicci, Vicky, Vikki
  • Zac, Zak

...the list of alternative surname spellings is just too long to publish here but Johnson, Jonson, Johnston, or Johnstone; Thompson, Thomson, or Tompson; and Howarth or Haworth are regulars! Then there's the whole load of Mc and Mac families to recognise.

Finally, thanks to Tom Cox, Ben Cox and Tom Guy who have the easiest names to check!

Course Map

The airbase is a restricted area and is not open to inspection except on the day of the Championship. This is a preliminary course map. Further updates will be added here in the days leading up to the Championship.

By design, all runways on the base are level and are above the countryside surrounding the rest of the base. The Championship courses are therefore set on a North - South slope.

The area immediately adjacent to the perimeter road and the southern part of loop 4 are classed as ‘open pasture’.

The paths/trails on the southern parts of loops 2 and 3 are within woods.

The Ministry of Defence, as a condition of using the base, has instructed the ESAA and Somerset SAA to bring to your attention that these wooded areas are strictly OUT OF BOUNDS and will be clearly defined. No Spectators, Coaches or Team Managers must access these areas. Anyone breaching this condition will be excluded from the site by security officers.

The courses may best be described as ‘ being on an exposed, active naval airbase, over working pasture farmland, along forest trails.’ All distances shown are approximate and are liable to change subject to ground conditions on the day.

Notes for Parents

Competing for your County Team can be a life-changing experience for children. For some, it is a stepping stone to future glory. For many, it will be the pinnacle of achievement.

For parents who may be concerned about what exactly is involved, we have prepared a document detailing what to expect, what not to expect, and a few indications of how things are, and why.

Official Merchandise

ESAA event tee-shirts, sweatshirts, and other items will be available at the event from our official suppliers Sportserve.

After the event you can contact them via their website.   


Photographs of ESAA events are published in the athletics press, local media, and on this website. All ESAA photographs are taken in accordance with the guidelines relating to photos in schools    published by the Information Commissioner with regard to the Data Protection Act 1998.

Photographs and videos can be taken by the public from public areas for personal use only. They may not be published in any form (including personal or club websites) without written permission from the ESAA.

Photographers at ESAA events wishing to publish photos in the media or in any other form (eg. internet websites), or wishing to use them for anything other than personal use must be officially registered and accredited by the ESAA. A list of officially accredited photographers will be published on this website shortly after the event along with their contact details.

It is not possible to prevent photographs of any particular individual from appearing in the media. If this is a problem for you, you are advised not to take part in the event. If any parent wishes a particular picture of their child appearing on this website to be removed please contact us    and we will do our best to resolve any problem.