Largess Help To Maintain Belmont’s Pine Allée

Photo: Bemont’s Pine Allée

An allée, according to the home design platform Houzz, is a pastoral walkway through evenly planted trees … that bring travelers to their destination in style. (The word “allée” is French for “way to go.”) Traversing an allée “reinforces the feeling that one has arrived.”

You don’t have to travel far to visit a truly unique example of this landscape: The Grand Allée at the Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich is a half-mile of manicured lawn between evergreens that descends to the ocean.

While most notable samples are finely sculptured vistas, a unique example lies between Lone Tree Hill Conservation Land and Concord Avenue just beyond Highland Meadow Cemetery heading toward Lexington. Shortly after the land was purchased by McLean Hospital in 1906, pines were planted, either as a windbreak or as an artistic creation.

Today, Belmont’s Pine Allée runs east to west for nearly 1,000 feet, 165 mature pines reach 100 feet tall, joining white pine saplings planted recently to form a strikingly natural topography, producing a haunting, Gothic take on the form.

“If you walk there now, it’s very green along the lower parts of the allée from the young saplings, and up above you’ve got the older trees so it’s quite a nice sight,” said Roger Wrubel, executive director of the Fund.

On Monday, Aug. 28, Belmont’s pine allée became the beneficiary of a $40,000 donation from the Judy Record Conservation Fund that will be used to maintain the nearly 300 trees.

“The trees are big and have heavy limbs … so a lot of the money will be used for pruning up those trees as well as other maintenance and invasive weed control,” said Wrubel before the Select Board. “The ones we planted recently are getting pretty large right now,” he said.

Lone Tree Hill’s Pine Allée Receives $150K Gift from Record Memorial Fund

Photo: The Pine Allée in Belmont’s Lone Tree Hill.

You have probably admired them without knowing it had a name.

Walking between a line of trees or shrubs along each side of a lane, an allée is a landscape feature first formally used in French gardens and estates to emphasize the “coming to,” or arrival to a specific point of interest.

The best-known example in these parts is the Grand Allée on the Crane Estate at Castle Hill in Ipswich. Finished a century ago this year, the half-mile-long, 100-foot-wide stretch of turf, bordered by two rows of trees, is a spectacular example of that effect. 

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But you don’t have to take a trip to the North Shore to see one around Belmont, there’s one already here.

The Pine Allée, running adjacent to upper Concord Avenue near the Belmont Hill Club on the Lone Tree Hill Conservation Land, is one of the signature landscape features of the newest open space in Belmont.  

But like so much open land in Belmont, there is always a need for funds to maintain this historical landmark.

Earlier this month, Belmont Board of Selectmen accepted a $150,000 gift from the Judith K Record Memorial Conservation Fund to begin the much-needed work on the allée. 

Kit Dreier, chair of the Record Fund, told the board the fund’s trustees were pleased that the funds will be used to hire an arbor care firm to undertake and oversee the recommended work, much of it to be performed during the winter when the ground is frozen so not to damage the landscape.

“We hope that the measures to protect the Allée’s health and to assure its long-term safety will extend its life well into the future,” said Dreier.