Kathryn Roberts tells Tim Hughes that she loves her Dartmoor home but feels most at home being on the road with husband Sean Lakeman

Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman are the closest thing to folk royalty.

As well as being part of the greater Lakeman clan – alongside Sean’s brothers Seth and Sam and Sam’s wife the Irish star Cara Dillon – they are a respected two-piece in their own right, twice picking up the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo.

Now the Devon/ Yorkshire husband and wife act are back on the road again, with one Oxfordshire date, at the Cornerstone, Didcot.

“Rarely a day goes by when we don’t count ourselves as very fortunate to be able to do this,” says Kathryn in her gentle Barnsley accent.

“A lot of stuff goes on behind the scenes, and we have to force ourselves to stay motivated, but it’s great to get back in the saddle, and getting on stage is almost like a reunion.”

She is speaking to me from the family home on the edge of Dartmoor.

“There’s something very evocative about living in a place like this,” she says.

“If I ever need inspiration I can drive up the hill and onto the moor. It’s so open – it feels like inspiration is falling from the sky. It’s very different to my home in Barnsley, where there are too many people and cars.”

And having Sean’s parents locally mean babysitting for their twin daughters is rarely an issue.

“It’s great having family nearby,” laughs Kathryn. “Joy and Geoff are very supportive. It can be hard arranging childcare on tour, so it’s wonderful having them. I couldn’t do it without them. When the family get together there’s always lots of gossip and catching up. People have a romantic idea of us sitting round a table and singing and playing, but that’s not actually how it is.”

They are no strangers to making music together, though. Kathryn and fellow South Yorkshire singer Kate Rusby performed in the folk supergroup Equation with Sean, Sam and Seth – and, at one point, Cara too.

Kathryn also appeared on Seth’s albums Kitty Jay, Freedom Fields and Poor Man’s Heaven.

However, the duo’s own sound differs from Seth’s stark tales of West Country life, or Cara’s Irish roots tunes.

“We are more eclectic and like to put in as much variety as possible,” she says.

“We love random and unusual stories and like to throw in the occasional cover too.”

She laughs: “We are not in direct competition. But it is easy to disappear down the rabbit hole of what we are doing, so it is nice to ask the others what they think.”

Kathryn grew up immersed in the South Yorkshire folk world. She explains: “My mum and dad are still heavily involved in the scene, and I grew up being taken to festivals, folk clubs and dance events. It was part and parcel of growing up. I didn’t grow up thinking ‘I’m going to be a folk singer’. I just fell into it.”

Her debut was the album Intuition, which features her old mate Rusby.

After Equation, she began performing live with Sean, releasing a pair of albums as a duo, the logically titled 1 and 2 in 2003 and 2004.

After a break to start a family, they returned with Hidden People in 2012 and Tomorrow Will Follow Today in 2015.

As well as being voted Best Duo at the 2013 and 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Kathryn’s song The Ballad Of Andy Jacobs was also nominated as Best Original Song.

They are now promoting their new eight-track EP Saved for a Rainy Day.

She explains: “It’s a little collection of oddities and rarities. There are cover songs we have played live over the years but never recorded because we never got round to it.

“We have finally recorded them along with a couple of our own originals that didn’t fit with our previous releases. There’s no theme and its fairly disparate but they have been requested quite a lot.”

And there’s a lot of variety. “Our set is quite varied,” she says.

“It will appeal to most people, but even if people don’t like one song they’ll probably like the next,” she laughs.

“People go home feeling they have got to know us a bit.”

And she can’t wait to get to Oxfordshire. “Our previous visit to the Cornerstone was a highlight of the tour,” she says. “The audience were so friendly and enthusiastic. We are really looking forward to returning – it should be a good, intimate night.”

It promises to be easier going than a tour date in Hampshire earlier this year, after which they got their instruments stolen.

“We parked outside a Premier Inn, everything was locked and we were backed into a prickly hedge under a security camera,” she recalls with a shudder.

“But someone smashed the back window and took our stuff – including Sean’s guitar and my flute, which I got for my 21st birthday.”

They pair appealed on social media, but were resigned to the loss, until they received a message out of the blue with some good news.

“Some guy said he’d seen them three miles down the road in a lock-up,” she says. “Everything had our names on, but the thief had tried to cover them up and had taken them into a local Cash Converters to sell them. Four weeks later we were reunited with them. But if it had not been for that guy, we’d never have seen them again.

“It was so bizarre. When we got them back I wanted to squeal, but just sat there shaking.

“It’s quite an education touring!”

* Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman play Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot, tomorrow. £15 Tel. 01235 515144 cornerstone-arts.org