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I'm in the south east UK. I have a site I'm doing intermittent timber work on, that's been left idle for much of the summer. When I came back it has huge webs strung from walls to beams and across the open spaces, everywhere, with the spiders in this picture sitting in them.

At a a guess they are about 30 - 40mm across (maybe 25 when 'sitting' with legs curled at rest close to body?). They sit in the middle of the webs, not hidden at the edges. The webs are quite strong and look like they are durable, as webs go.

Any ideas?

enter image description here

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You've encountered a very common spider, found all over holarctic. Common names: European garden spider, diadem spider or cross spider Scientific name: Araneus diadematus link to wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araneus_diadematus

They can bite, but are hard to provoke. If bitten it will feel similar to a wasp sting. So nothing to worry about, unless you are allergic.

picture from underneath: enter image description here source: http://c8.alamy.com/comp/H45CTY/spinning-network-garden-spider-araneus-diadematus-bottom-side-animal-H45CTY.jpg

picture from above: enter image description here source: enter link description here

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