Across two forested ridges from the West Meade Waterfall, the four-acre Belle Forest Cave is located behind the Belle Forest Condominiums in Bellevue. This property features an old springhouse leading to a small cave where bats have been sighted. The varied topography, soil types, and three small streams support a broad diversity of tree and shrub species, ranging from lowland hardwoods to dry ridge and acidic soil species.


In Fall 2018, the Belle Forest Cave was established as a certified arboretum through the collaborative efforts of TennGreen volunteer, Willi Honegger, TennGreen staff, and the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council (TUFC). Trails throughout the property guide visitors along a tour of 38 labeled trees, ranging from farkleberry to the 2016 Davidson County Big Old Beech Tree winner. Visitors can also note the extensive invasive species removal that is currently underway.


Click here for a map of the Belle Forest Cave Arboretum.


Click here for a list of trees found in the Belle Forest Cave Arboretum. 



Our Conservation Story

In 2015, TennGreen purchased these four acres and successfully fundraised to complete the project. We are grateful to the Community Foundation for Middle Tennessee for supporting our effort of restoring the land through native plant removal.


Award-Winning Research at the Belle Forest Cave

Belmont University biology alumna Lindsay Millward (2016) received the first place Frank G. Brooks Award for Excellence in Student Research in Ecology at the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society National Convention in St. Paul, MN in June 2016. Lindsay’s research was on “Leaf Decomposition Rate Differs Between Invasive Exotic Lonicera maackii and Native Acer saccharum in a Temperate Deciduous Forest” that she completed as part of her senior research project with biology professor Dr. Darlene Panvini. In April, Lindsay won first place in the regional Tri Beta District II oral presentation session and received an award that paid for her expenses to the national convention. Lindsay will begin a Master’s program in ecology in the fall of 2016 at Central Washington University where she received a teaching assistantship.



The Belle Forest Cave Arboretum is open by appointment through TennGreen.
If you are interested in visiting the Arboretum, please email Ponda Culberson at


As a courtesy to the neighbors of the Belle Forest Cave please contact our office for directions and access permission to the Belle Forest Cave.