Is it a Garden Spider Araneus diadematus?
I’d say body and head together measure about 15mm (2/3 of an inch).
It was (still is) on the compost bin in our front garden here in central Cambridge with a web stretching across to the black bin – a distance of about 15cm (six inches).
When I raised the lid on the green bin it walked sideways along the web and then back again as I lowered the lid on the bin.
Reply from a spider expert
What you have there is a Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus). You can recognise it by the diamond-shaped abdomen (hence the scientific name), the banded legs, and also those white dots on the dorsal area. The colour of this species varies a lot which can lead to some confusion. They’re not dangerous, so you won’t need to move home.
Scientific name: Araneus diadematus
Size: Males up to 8mm, females up to 13mm
Distribution: Rare. Found throughout the UK
Months seen: June to October
Habitat: Found in hedgerows, woodlands and gardens
Food: Small invertebrates. Mostly flying insects which are caught in orb webs
Special features: Garden spiders are sometimes called Cross spiders on account of the white ‘+’ cross-shaped mark on the abdomen. They’re most frequently seen in September and October, when they reach adult size.
The females are usually seen upside-down in the centre of their circular webs, which they construct about a metre off the ground, in trees and hedges.
The colour of the abdomen is extremely variable. It can be anything from dark grey, through brown, orange, yellow to white. Usually at least five of the dots making up the cross marking are visible to some extent.
Garden Spiders lay their egg sacs on strong branches, fences, garden sheds or other structures in late summer and early autumn. The young spiderlings, which appear in spring and early summer look very different. Their bodies are bright yellow with a dark brown triangular patch on the abdomen.